NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 30, 2007

The three most deadly shootings in U.S. history all shared something in common: citizens were already banned from having guns in those areas.  Indeed, every multiple-victim public shooting of any significant size in the United States has occurred in one of these gun-free zones, says John Lott, research scientist at the University of Maryland and his son, Maxim Lott.

The problem with gun-control laws is not that there isn't enough regulation, rather that it is primarily the law-abiding, not the criminals, who obey these laws, say the authors.  Further, increasing the probability that someone will be able to protect himself or herself increases deterrence.  Consider:

  • While right-to-carry laws-- now operating in 40 states -- do reduce violent crime generally, the effect is much larger for multiple-victim shootings.
  • Normally about 2 percent to 6 percent of adults in any state have permits, and for most crimes that means some deterrence.
  • But for a shooting in a public place where there might be dozens or hundreds of people, it will almost ensure that at least someone -- someone who is unknown to the attacker -- will be able to defend themselves and others.

Other countries wonder how millions of Americans can be allowed to legally carry concealed handguns, say the authors. We must be crazy.  Many Americans also initially shared the same fears, but not any longer.  The permit holders have proven to be extremely law-abiding. There is a reason no state that has allowed citizens to carry guns has reversed course, says Lott..

Source: John Lott and Maxim Lott, "More, Guns, Not Less, Would Prevent Shooting Massacres," Fox News, August 28, 2007.

For text:,2933,294954,00.html 


Browse more articles on Government Issues