His most notable work, More Guns, Less Crime, used decades of crime data to "prove" that the passage of conceal-carry laws causes a sharp decline in crime rates, which he attributes to criminals not wanting to risk your grandma being strapped. When other researchers looked at the data that Lott had used to draw this conclusion, however, they found that he hadn't factored in the crack epidemic, which caused a huge country-wide spike in violent crimes. The spike dropped, because that's how spikes work, but Lott still attributed the change to his darling guns. Despite this and other "convenient" omissions, this analysis is a favorite of the NRA, having been cited nearly 200 times in press releases and angry, angry speeches.
So, dear reader, before you leave a comment citing a statistic from Lott, consider the fact that you're about to look very, very dumb. Especially if your name is, say, Lohn Jott.
Sabotaging A Deal Between Smith & Wesson And The Government To Make Guns Safer After Columbine
After the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, Smith & Wesson -- one of the nation's oldest and most well-known gun manufacturers -- decided that it wouldn't be the worst thing to work with the government to prevent the senseless slaughter of more children. After long negotiations (held at airport-side hotels for extra secrecy), S&W developed a whole bunch of measures that they could implement to make their products safer. These included a commitment to researching and developing "smart guns" that could be locked to a specific person, plans to install safety devices on all new handguns that could lock them when not in use, and other less sci-fi-sounding but equally interesting ideas.
With this, Smith & Wesson weren't implementing "gun control." They were doing what all good corporations should, holding themselves accountable and making sure that anyone who isn't supposed to own or use their products can't, y'know, own or use their products. As you've probably guessed, the NRA was having none of that.
NRAA more civilized time. Today this would be all in caps.
After the deal was announced, the NRA released a statement calling Smith & Wesson "the first gun maker to run up the white flag of surrender" and a "self-appointed arbiter of national gun policy" (presumably adding "That's supposed to be us"). After framing the company as the Ultimate Enemy to Freedom and Liberty and Stuff, the NRA then released the phone number of S&W's CEO, Eric Shultz, and told their members to make their voices heard. And so they did, via death threats, which forced Shultz and other executives to update their wardrobes to include more garments of the "bulletproof" variety.
Alongside that, the NRA organized a boycott that gutted the company's sales, forced two factories to close (causing mass layoffs), and wiped out 95 percent of S&W's value. Shultz and his executives were forced to resign their posts, and the only thing that saved the company from total ruin was, uh ... the NRA. Or, to put it another way, the new CEO of S&W tearing up the agreement and kissing the NRA's ring until they were forgiven for their unspeakable crime of believing that they were operating in a free market.
Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook, and has a newsletter about depressing history that you can subscribe to. It's really good, honest.
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