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DC – GUN RIGHTS – Controversial gun advocate hired by Justice Department last month

The Justice Department has hired an economist known for provocative research claiming that communities can reduce crime by allowing widespread gun ownership and implementing policies making it easier to carry a gun in public. Last month, John Lott, 62, left a nonprofit group he founded seven years ago to take a job as a senior adviser for research and statistics at the Office of Justice Programs—a DOJ division that doles out $5 billion in grants each year. Lott, who holds a doctorate from the University of California at Los Angeles, is best known for his 1998 book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” and for a slew of reports, articles and op-eds advocating for lifting gun control laws. Lott confirmed his move to DOJ but declined to comment further. “I took a job at the Department of Justice. I’m really not supposed to say more than that,” he said when reached by phone last week. A Justice Department spokesperson confirmed Lott’s title Monday, but declined to answer further questions about his hiring. The spokesperson would not say whether Lott is serving as a political appointee or a career civil service position. OJP, a relatively low-profile branch of the Justice Department, administers about $5 billion in grants each year to states, police departments and nonprofit groups. The office also conducts research into the causes of crime and gathers statistics on criminal justice topics.  [full article]

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