Gun Control Advocates Convinced CDC to Remove Key Statistics on Defensive Gun Uses  By: S.H. Blannelberry

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(Photo: GunsAmerica)

Gun-control advocates successfully convinced the Center For Disease Control (CDC) to erase key data on defensive gun use (DGU) in America because it was a barrier to enacting tougher gun laws, a new report by The Reload reveals. 

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Per the CDC, a defensive gun use is “generally defined as the use of a firearm to protect and defend oneself, family, other people, and/or property against crime or victimization.”  

The number of annual DGUs is a controversial topic because there is no perfect way to track that information.  

To explicate, most DGUs don’t involve actual gunfire, the mere presence of a firearm is enough to de-escalate the situation or send the perp running and, in such cases, police reports aren’t always filed.  

This means criminologists have to rely on public surveys, along with police reports and media coverage of DGUs, to get an approximation of their frequency.

Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, put forth a study in the ’90s that concluded, based on a national survey, that in an average year 2.23 million Americans use a firearm to defend themselves or their families.

On the other side of the coin, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that there were about 300,000 crimes involving firearms in 2008.

Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

If Kleck’s estimates are accurate, it would mean that for every one bad guy to use a gun in the commission of a crime that year, seven good guys used one in defense of themselves or their families.  

The notion that responsibly armed citizens defend themselves every day in this country is a death knell to the gun prohibitionist lobby.  The fact that it could be at a ratio of 7 to 1 (good guys vs. bad guys) is even more infuriating.  

This explains why gun-control activists were so hellbent to scrub Kleck’s data off the CDC website. 

As The Reload reported, with the help of the White House and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, a group of gun controllers was allowed to meet with the CDC in 2021 to discuss getting rid of the estimates.  

“[T]hat 2.5 Million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again,” Mark Bryant, one of the attendees, wrote to CDC officials after their meeting. “It is highly misleading, is used out of context and I honestly believe it has zero value – even as an outlier point in honest DGU discussions.”

Bryant, who curates the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), went on to spell out the problem as it relates to the gun-ban agenda. 

“And while that very small study by Gary Kleck has been debunked repeatedly by everyone from all sides of this issue [even Kleck] it still remains canon by gun rights folks and their supporting politicians and is used as a blunt instrument against gun safety regulations every time there is a state or federal level hearing,” he wrote. 

“Put simply, in the time that study has been published as ‘a CDC Study’ gun violence prevention policy has ground to a halt, in no small part because of the misinformation that small study provided,” Bryant added. 

Kleck has not retracted his research.  He stands by his numbers.  He also accused the CDC of engaging in “blatant censorship” when it removed his DGU estimates from its website this year.  

“CDC is just aligning itself with the gun-control advocacy groups,” Kleck told The Reload. “It’s just saying: ‘we are their tool, and we will do their bidding.’ And that’s not what a government agency should do.”

If you visit the CDC website today, you will not find estimates on DGUs like you would in years past.  Instead, you’ll see this:

(Photo: CDC)

Any reasonable person would conclude that the CDC’s now obfuscating the truth with respect to DGUs. No longer is it apparent that good guys with guns defend themselves, at the very least, tens of thousands of times each year. Gun-control advocates got exactly what they wanted.

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