February 13, 2018

Action Alert:
Tell the New York Times to Stop Publishing John Lott


61 people have taken this action


On February 12, 2018, the New York Times inexplicably published an op-ed titled “Background Checks are Not the Answer to Gun Violence” by fraudulent pro-gun “researcher” John Lott, Jr. In the piece, Lott argues that federal legislation to improve the accuracy of the nation’s background check system for gun purchases (to deny guns to violent people) is a bad idea, because on some occasions gun buyers are temporarily inconvenienced by denials when their name is the same as a prohibited purchaser in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Somehow, mainstream media outlets always forget to mention that Lott’s “Crime Prevention Research Center” board of directors consists of Ted Nugent, radical ex-sheriff David Clarke, and climate deniers.

If that argument sounds like it makes no sense, you’re right, but that is the record of John Lott, a wannabe criminologist and academic who peddles in pro-gun propaganda.

Lott was long ago discredited in the academic world. In 2004, the National Research Council voted 15-1 that the evidence couldn’t support Lott’s claim that permissive carry laws reduce crime. Lott’s “research” is riddled with errors and ethical violations. He has created fake online identities, fabricated a survey on defensive gun use, and claimed that more than 99% of gun purchaser background check denials are false positives when the Department of Justice’s Inspector General reports that denials are accurate in 99.8% of cases!

Please take one of the following actions in response to this publication of Lott:

1) Email a letter to the editor to the the New York Times at letters@nytimes.com, keeping the length to 150-175 words. You can use the template text below for your letter, but please personalize your submission and make it unique. Otherwise, the Times will not print it.

It stains the reputation of the New York Times to publish an opinion piece by discredited pro-gun ideologue John Lott (“Background Checks are Not the Answer to Gun Violence,” Feb. 12). Lott left academia long ago after a string of ethical offenses, including creating fake online identities to praise his book, fabricating an entire national survey on defensive gun use, citing publication in periodicals that rejected his submissions, and claiming that more than 99% of gun purchaser background check denials are false positives when the Department of Justice’s Inspector General reports that denials are accurate in 99.8% of cases! In 2004, the National Research Council voted 15-1 that the evidence couldn’t support Lott’s claim that permissive carry laws reduce crime. You do not owe this man a platform and you’re certainly not doing your paper any favors by presenting him as credible. Please stop publishing John Lott, Jr.

2) Send a message to the NYT on social media:

Message the NYT through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nytimes/

It stains the reputation of the NYT publish an op-ed by discredited pro-gun “researcher” John Lott (“Background Checks are Not the Answer to Gun Violence”). Please stop giving this fraud print space.

Tweet at the NYT:

.@nytimes, why are you publishing discredited pro-gun “researcher” John Lott? This stains your paper’s reputation. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/opinion/politics/background-checks-gun-violence.html

Once you have taken one of the above actions, click the orange banner above to report doing so!