August 17th 2015

Inaccurate Claim on Police Deaths
in States With More Guns


The American Journal of Public Health brought out a study report claiming to prove that in states with more guns, more police were criminally killed. John Lott digs deep to show inaccuracies within.

By John R. Lott. August 17th, 2015

The end of last week a study in the The American Journal of Public Health claimed that there were more police feloniously killed in states that had more guns. The study got extensive news coverage at the TV networks such as NBC News, newspapers such as the Chicago Sun-Times, and international coverage such the UK Guardian.

Yet, it took just a couple of minutes to read the paper and realize that the empirical work was done in a very non-standard way. There is a big benefit to using so-called panel data, where you can more accurately account for differences in crime rates across states or over time. This method is called "fixed effects." Strangely the authors, David Swedler, Molly M. Simmons, Francesca Dominici, and David Hemenway, only control for the differences across states and not over time.

A couple of simple examples show why other studies on crime take into account these factors....... -->

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