John Lott, known for his work on guns and crime, has filed a defamation lawsuit against University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt, co-author of the best-seller “Freakonomics,” reports the Chicago Tribune. Lott alleges that Levitt defamed him in the book by claiming that other scholars had tried and failed to confirm Lott’s conclusion that allowing people to carry concealed weapons reduces crime. Lott asserts that “every time that an economist or other researcher has replicated Lott’s research, he or she has confirmed Lott’s conclusion.” By suggesting that Lott’s results could not be replicated, Levitt is “alleging that Lott falsified his results,” the lawsuit says.
Lott is seeking a court order to block further sales of “Freakonomics” until the offending statements are retracted and changed. He is also seeking money damages. Lott acknowledged that some scholars have disagreed with his conclusions. He said those researchers used “different data or methods to analyze the relationship between gun-control laws and crime” and made no attempt to “replicate” Lott’s work. Lott’s books include “More Guns, Less Crime: Analyzing Crime and Gun Control Laws,” published in 1998.