Unpublished CDC Study Confirms over 2 Million Annual Defensive Gun Uses

   04.30.18

Unpublished CDC Study Confirms over 2 Million Annual Defensive Gun Uses

Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck has stated since the early 1990s that there are a greater number of defensive handgun uses (DGUs) each year than people think. According to Wikipedia, “Defensive gun use (DGU) is the use of a firearm in self-defense or defense of others. The frequency of defensive firearms incidents, and their effectiveness in providing safety and reducing crime is a controversial issue in gun politics and criminology.” 

Kleck believed that there were an estimated annual 760,000 DGUs. In 2015, he and his research partner Marc Gertz raised that number to almost 2.5 million. The shocking finding of a survey recently discovered but never made public by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirms that there are approximately 2.46 million DGUs per year.

In 1996, 1997, and 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted large-scale national surveys asking about defensive gun use (DGU). They never released the findings, or even acknowledged they had studied the topic. I obtained the unpublished raw data and computed the prevalence of DGU. CDC’s findings indicated that an average of 2.46 million U.S. adults used a gun for self-defense in each of the years from 1996 through 1998 – almost exactly confirming the estimate for 1992 of Kleck and Gertz (1995). Possible reasons for CDC’s suppression of these findings are discussed.

During the conduction of the survey, it was said that the CDC asked “During the last 12 months, have you confronted another person with a firearm, even if you did not fire it, to protect yourself, your property, or someone else?” However, Kleck was critical of the CDC’s lack of follow-up questions regarding whether or not the respondent had a firearm in the home, or the nature surrounding the DGU. Kleck also said:

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.

It is important to remember that “defensive gun use” does not actually mean the FIRING of the firearm. Some experts say that the pulling of the trigger to fire a bullet during a DGU only happens about a quarter of the time. Further studies into the purpose behind the use, allowing for work-related incidents (law enforcement employees, for example) would be warranted to determine that factor.

Read More