Discredited gun researcher John Lott was twice interviewed about mass shootings by the anti-Semitic publication American Free Press (AFP). In one instance, Lott was interviewed by Victor Thorn, the author of The Holocaust Hoax Exposed: Debunking The 20th Century's Greatest Fabrication. In the other instance, Lott was interviewed by Keith Johnson, who has called President Obama “the house nigger for the Jews.”
Lott is a well-known pro-gun advocate and frequent source of conservative misinformation about gun violence. He rose to prominence during the 1990s with the publication of his book, More Guns, Less Crime, although his conclusion that permissive gun laws reduce crime rates was later debunked by academics who found serious flaws in his research. (Reputable research indicates that permissive concealed carry laws do not reduce crime and may actually increase the occurrence of aggravated assault.)
Lott was interviewed by Thorn in August 2012, just days after a gunman killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others during a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. In his interview, Lott pushed the debunked conservative media talking point that places where guns are not allowed attract mass violence:
During a July 25 interview with this writer [Victor Thorn], Lott expanded on this notion.
“Guns were banned from the movie theater where that shooting took place,” said Lott. “So, law-abiding citizens obeyed, but the criminal didn't. Obviously, these gun-free zones make it easier for lawbreakers to engage in this type of violent behavior, producing the opposite effect of what we want to see happen.”
Thorn has repeatedly promoted the conspiracy theory that the Aurora shooting was an event staged by the government. In an article published at AFP two weeks before his interview with Lott, Thorn suggested that a “federal operation” was behind the shooting, arguing that, “The high-profile mass murder in Aurora, Colorado doesn't add up.” Thorn continued, suggesting that James Holmes, who was sentenced to life in prison for carrying out the attack in August 2015, was a “patsy” or alternately had been brainwashed by the government into carrying out the attack.
Thorn has continued to promote conspiracy theories about the Aurora mass shooting. In an April 2015 article, Thorn interviewed an anonymous engineer who theorized that multiple gunmen carried out the attack based on “anomalies” in law enforcement's account of the shooting.
Similar to his Aurora conspiracy theory, he has also suggested that the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting was staged by the government.
Beyond his mass shooting conspiracy theories, Thorn is a prominent anti-Semite who has been accused by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of “promoting anti-government and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” A summary of his book, The Holocaust Hoax Exposed: Debunking The 20th Century's Greatest Fabrication, states that it purportedly exposes “the mythology surrounding 'concentration camps,' the truth about Zyklon B, Anne Frank's fable, how the absurd 'six million' figure has become a laughingstock, and the betrayal by maniacal Zionists of their own Jewish people that led to their deaths.” AFP lavished praise on the book writing, “Once again, with THE HOLOCAUST HOAX EXPOSED: DEBUNKING THE 20TH CENTURY'S BIGGEST LIE, our expectations have been met -- even exceeded. In 25 concise chapters he demolishes once and for all the Zionist-Jewish Holocaust fable.”
In another release, Thorn argued that Israel was responsible for the 9-11 terrorist attacks in his book MADE IN ISRAEL: 9-11 And The Jewish Plot Against America.
AFP is a well-known anti-Semitic organization that has drawn condemnation from ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). SPLC describes AFP as an “anti-Semitic weekly” that “was founded by Holocaust denier Willis Carto.” ADL called Carto “one of the most influential American anti-Semitic propagandists” and “the mastermind of the hate network.”
Lott was interviewed by another AFP writer, Keith Johnson, in January 2014 to argue that mass shooters are influenced to carry out their attacks by a copycat effect.
During the September 4, 2012 broadcast of his anti-Semitic radio show, Johnson said, “Yeah, I did deliberately call Barack Obama -- the word nigger would apply, or house nigger -- and the reason I say that, folks, is because that's not how I consider him, well wait a minute, it all depends on the context, but what I am trying to say is that's how he is viewed and if I was to see Obama, I would tell him, 'You're the house nigger for the Jews.'”
In July 2012, Thorn appeared on Johnson's radio show where they both promoted Holocaust denial conspiracy theories.