It’s been a common liberal talking point that the NRA has somehow successfully lobbied to have gun control research “banned.” I suppose the purpose of the talking point is that those on the pro-gun side have “something to hide” – with that something being evidence against our position.
It’s a particularly odd talking point, given that Obama’s Centers for Disease Control conducted a gun control study in 2013…. and concluded that guns are used in self-defense hundreds of thousands of times a year. The particular range they gave was anything from 500,000 to 3 million self-defensive gun uses per year. The report also throws doubt in various gun control measures, stating that “whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence is an unresolved issue,” and that there is no evidence “that passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violence crime.
So, hardly the result that Obama wanted.
And now we know, hardly the first time the CDC had reached such a conclusion. Back in the 1990s, the CDC looked into the question of how often Americans use guns in self-defense, and how that compares relative to the frequency in which firearms are used in violent crimes. Obviously, the former needs to outweigh the latter for guns to be a net positive to society.
And for over two decades, that study, and its findings were kept secret. The findings were never released, nor did the agency even acknowledge that they had conducted the research.
Why could that have possibly been?
According to Reason Magazine:
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.
The questions in the survey were very specific: “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?” Respondents were told to leave out incidents from occupations, like policing, where using firearms is part of the job.”
And the CDC’s findings were largely consistent with those of Kleck, whose studies are known to produce DGU statistics on the high end of the range. To quote from Kleck’s new study, which is based on the newly unearthed CDC data:
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).
Kleck only had one problem with the study: that it asked people if they own firearms. You’d expect that to be common sense for someone reporting a DGU, but many gun owners are rightly concerned about disclosing to the government that they’re a gun owner. Kleck in his own surveys has found that “only” about 80 percent of those who reported a DGU also reported having a gun in the home. For that reason, Kleck believes that the CDC’s numbers could actually be revised upwards.
It’s no wonder that next year’s budget clarifies that the CDC has the right to research gun violence.
Because it’s not going to turn up any conclusions favorable to the gun grabbers anytime soon.
Why do you think this study was kept hidden from the public? Let us know why in the comments section below – and be sure to get the word out and share this post on Facebook and Twitter!