The Justice Department hired John Lott, an economist known for provocative research claiming that communities can reduce crime by allowing widespread gun ownership and making it easier to carry a gun in public, Politico reports. Lott, 62, left a nonprofit group he founded seven years ago to take a job as senior adviser for research and statistics at the Office of Justice Programs, which awards $5 billion in grants each year. Lott is best known for his 1998 book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” and for reports, articles and op-eds advocating for lifting gun control laws. A Justice Department spokesperson would not say whether Lott is serving as a political appointee or a career civil service position.
A colleague at the Crime Prevention Research Center, the small organization Lott started in 2013, also confirmed Lott’s exit. The center features an unusual board of directors, including musician Ted Nugent, conservative talk show host Lars Larson and former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, known for his fiery speech in favor of Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Lott’s role as president of CPRC was turned over to Andrew Pollack, who emerged as a prominent pro-gun voice after his 18-year-old daughter Meadow was killed in the shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl., in 2018. Before his DOJ hiring, Lott continued his steadfast advocacy for Trump, warning in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Joe Biden’s advocacy for civil liability for gun manufacturers would effectively make guns illegal. Since Lott assumed his new government job, he has kept up his outspoken presence on social media sites, often trashing the media and espousing pro-Trump views.