A recent survey of economists found that a majority believes guns are more likely to be used for self-defense than for crime. The survey was conducted by Gary Mauser, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University, for John Lott Jr., Crime Prevention Research Center president. Mauser and Lott suspected previous surveys on the attitudes of academics toward armed self-defense might be biased, due to both the pool of respondents (in that case, sociologists and public health researchers) and the way certain questions were phrased.
Mauser’s poll targeted economists who had published gun research in peer-reviewed journals, ensuring that respondents had enough background knowledge to possess an informed opinion. He also took care to word questions as neutrally as possible. His results—that about 83 percent believe there is a net benefit to gun ownership—are in line with the results of recent Gallup polls, which found that roughly two-thirds of Americans believe guns make homes safer.