NASHVILLE – A so-called expert invited to testify on guns before the Senate Judiciary Committee has been frequently discredited by academia and the media, according to sources found by Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris.
"Apparently some folks have made a career peddling discredited research on guns," Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris said. "Just because you get invited on Fox News to confirm NRA talking points on guns doesn't mean you should be invited to the state Senate of Tennessee as an expert. It's an open question whether this individual would pass as a credible witness in court, and his research methods probably wouldn't pass muster in many classrooms."
John Lott made a name for himself in the 1990s with the book More Guns, Less Crime, pushing the myth that gun ownership and increased concealed carry permits will reduce violent crime. That research has since been debunked and more rigorous studies have shown the opposite.
"His research has been debunked countless times by the very best academics," Sen. Harris said. "The Stanford Law Review found that his central hypothesis of 'more guns, less crime' was entirely without statistical support. Lott's research contained serious coding errors that actually reversed his hypothesis, and more rigorous studies have found that rates of gun ownership significantly positively correlate with incidence of homicide.
"The late addition of Lott to today's committee agenda means we won't hear other views from true experts, which I believe could have been scheduled," Sen. Harris said. "It's unfortunate that Mr. Lott was added at the last second. That only helps him avoid the scrutiny his ideas truly deserve.
"Lott's Crime Prevention Research Center may be masquerading as a policy shop but it appears to be just a small, two-man operation funded by Ted Nugent, who just yesterday went to Facebook with anti-Semitic claims of a Jewish conspiracy that doesn't exist.
"With Tennessee ranked ninth in accidental shootings, we need to hear balanced perspectives from serious people on preventing gun violence, not just Fox News talking heads."