John Lott Q&A: The Fallacy Of One-Gun-A-Month Laws

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posted on April 6, 2017
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On the same day that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed legislation that would have helped protect women who had been issued a protective order, McAuliffe also used an amendatory veto to send Senate Bill 1023 back to the General Assembly in the form of a “one-handgun-a-month” bill. And despite no proof that any such law has ever helped decrease violent crime anywhere, some in the media quickly rallied behind McAuliffe’s proposal.

One particular editorial at Dailypress.com took a particularly frustrating tack, choosing to question why gun owners need to practice their Second Amendment rights beyond just one time in a 30-day period. We decided to ask criminologist John Lott, author of the new book, The War On Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies, about that editorial and one-gun-a-month laws in general.  

A1F Daily: A Daily Press editorial on Monday asked, “How Many Guns Do You Need?” It then went on to argue for the one-gun-a-month proposal by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. What does your research show about laws limiting the number of guns law-abiding Americans can purchase? 

John Lott: As with other gun control laws, the discussion only seems to concentrate on their possible benefits. But all laws have both costs and benefits, and one-gun-a-month regulations have real potential costs. For example, a stalked woman who might want to have more than one gun in her home so that a gun is in easy reach if something goes wrong. In fact, in my book, More Guns, Less Crime, I find that a one-gun-a-month rule has negative consequences. But only three states passed these laws during the more than 20 years that I studied, so any results are suggestive. Nevertheless, murders, robberies and aggravated assaults rose when these laws took effect.

A1FD: Why do you think media jump onto such anti-gun proposals and shamelessly promote them? 

Lott: Unfortunately, the media isn't very skeptical of gun control laws. Gun control advocates like rules that discourage gun ownership, and one-gun-a-month rules clearly do that. 

A1FD: The editorial concludes with, “An ordinary citizen shouldn't need to buy more than 12 guns in a year, and a dangerous one shouldn't be able to.” How do you respond to that? 

Lott: Talking about 12 guns a year is misleading. While few people might buy more than 12 guns a year, when people buy guns they might want to buy more than one at that time. As noted earlier, if a woman is seriously threatened or stalked, a couple of guns within easy reach in her home might be her best option. Or, if you are helping set up a shooting trip for the Boy Scouts, you might want to buy several shotguns.

For additional information dealing with gun control and the Second Amendment, check out John Lott’s newest book, The War On Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies. You can order The War On Guns directly from amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

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