CDC Failed to Publicize Pro-Gun Facts

   04.23.18

CDC Failed to Publicize Pro-Gun Facts

It would appear that although Centers for Disease Control (CDC) learned in “high-quality telephone surveys” from the 1990s that defensive gun use vastly outweighs criminal use of firearms, that information was never publicized.

Criminologist and researcher Gary Kleck reportedly unearthed this data, and discussed it in a new research paper entitled, “What Do CDC’s Surveys Say About the Frequency of Defensive Gun Uses?”

Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck conducted the most thorough previously known survey data on the question in the 1990s. His study, which has been harshly disputed in pro-gun-control quarters, indicated that there were more than 2.2 million such defensive uses of guns (DGUs) in America a year.

Now Kleck has unearthed some lost CDC survey data on the question. The CDC essentially confirmed Kleck’s results. But Kleck didn’t know about that until now, because the CDC never reported what it found.

It would appear that CDC asked the right questions, for the most part, and received responses indicating 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGUs) per year in the mid-1990s. But nobody knew about those results, because someone apparently decided to sit on them.

For those who wonder exactly how purely scientific CDC researchers are likely to be about issues of gun violence that implicate policy, Kleck notes that “CDC never reported the results of those surveys, does not report on their website any estimates of DGU frequency, and does not even acknowledge that they ever asked about the topic in any of their surveys.”

This is not surprising to me. After all, why should we expect one part of a government to promote facts which conflict with the anti-gun designs of certain powerful figures in that same government?

The real story here is that CDC’s own research actually backs up Kleck’s research into DGU, done around the same time. Their conclusions reportedly match very well:

The final adjusted prevalence of 1.24% therefore implies that in an average year during 1996–1998, 2.46 million U.S. adults used a gun for self-defense. This estimate, based on an enormous sample of 12,870 cases (unweighted) in a nationally representative sample, strongly confirms the 2.5 million past-12-months estimate obtained Kleck and Gertz (1995)….CDC’s results, then, imply that guns were used defensively by victims about 3.6 times as often as they were used offensively by criminals.

These numbers may change slightly when Kleck republishes his latest paper. After it was published, it came to light that CDC’s surveys were not national in scope but were limited to 17 states in the USA, so Kleck is said to be taking a fresh look and “will recalculate the degree to which CDC’s survey work indeed matches or corroborates his.”

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