Facts About Firearm Policy Initiative

Return to Database
MYTH: Lott’s right-to-carry study was published in Econ Journal Watch

  • Researcher John Lott claimed on his website that his 2015 study on right-to-carry laws was published in the peer-reviewed Econ Journal Watch.
  • The paper was never published in Econ Journal Watch. The journal’s editor said the paper was considered for publication but was rejected.
  • After a ThinkProgress article pointed out this discrepancy, Lott edited his website and falsely claimed he had originally said the paper was “forthcoming.” 

Lott’s Claim:

On September 13, 2015, Lott’s website announced that a study he authored on right-to-carry laws had been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Econ Journal Watch. The headline stated in all caps, “CPRC Has New Refereed Publication in Econ Journal Watch: Explaining a Bias in Recent Studies on Right-to-Carry Laws.” A downloadable copy of the paper, which the website article linked to,also said it was published in the journal.

The Facts:

The paper was not published in Econ Journal Watch. An August 2016 article in ThinkProgress explains that Lott’s paper had been considered for publication, but was rejected. Eleven months after the rejection, the post on Lott’s website and the downloadable paper on Social Science Research Network (SSRN) had not been corrected.

Lott’s Counter:

In an August 31, 2016 post on his website, Lott replied, “Econ Journal Watch originally accepted the paper, but at the last moment in September 2015, the month that the paper was supposed to appear in the online publication, additional work was requested requiring additional work. After that disagreements arose between the editor and myself that spread out over 5 months, and the paper wasn’t published. I forgot to go back and remove the note that the paper was forthcoming.  For those interested in seeing whether I needed one more line on my Vita, here is a copy of it.”

During a September 18, 2019 hearing on gun violence, US Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico asked Lott about the discrepancy between his claim and statements by the editor of Econ Journal Watch who said Lott’s paper was rejected. Lott explained, “It was originally accepted and then he decided he wanted to make changes in it and we couldn’t agree on the changes, and so then it didn’t get published. But it was originally accepted.” When asked why he didn’t wait until after the study was published to post the news, Lott replied, “Well I think I listed it as forthcoming.” 


As can be seen in the archived post, Lott never mentioned “forthcoming” in his post. The day after the ThinkProgress article was posted, the paper hosted on SSRN was revised to remove reference to Econ Journal Watch. Lott also changed the headline and the study description on his website.


John Lott, “Not All Right-to-Carry Laws Are the Same, Yet Much of the Literature Keeps Ignoring the Differences,” SSRN (archived), September 5, 2015 
John Lott, “Not All Right-to-Carry Laws Are the Same, Yet Much of the Literature Keeps Ignoring the Differences,” SSRN, September 5, 2015 
John Lott, “CPRC Has New Research: Explaining A Bias In Recent Studies On Right-To-Carry Laws,” Crime Prevention Research Center, September 13, 2015
Evan Filippis and Devin Hughes, “The GOP’s favorite gun ‘academic’ is a fraud,” ThinkProgress, August 12, 2016
John Lott, “Response To Evan DeFilippis And Devin Hughes’ Newest Claims At Think Progress,” Crime Prevention Research Center, August 31, 2016
John Lott testimony before the Joint Economic Committee Gun Violence in America, “Gun Violence in America Understanding and Reducing the Costs of Firearm Injuries and Deaths,” YouTube, September 18, 2019

Verified by MonsterInsights