Americans have engaged in more defensive gun uses than the gun grabbers care to admit.
The CDC conducted extensive surveys about defensive gun uses (DGUs) but they never publicized the fact that they did such research or what the results were. They aren’t offering an explanation for this mysterious silence. But the findings from this research in the 1990s found more DGUs than the anti-gun media wanted to admit to. Their results come close to the finding of Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck. Kleck’s conclusions were “harshly disputed” by advocates of gun control.
Presumably, if the CDC had found far fewer DGUs than Kleck estimated, they would have released their conclusion with great fanfare.
Many people who support gun control are angry that the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are not legally allowed to use money from Congress to do research whose purpose is “to advocate or promote gun control.” (This is not the same as doing no research into gun violence, though it seems to discourage many potential recipients of CDC money.)
But in the 1990s, the CDC itself did look into one of the more controversial questions in gun social science: How often do innocent Americans use guns in self-defense, and how does that compare to the harms guns can cause in the hands of violent criminals?
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.
Kleck’s new paper—”What Do CDC’s Surveys Say About the Frequency of Defensive Gun Uses?“—finds that the agency had asked about DGUs in its Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 1996, 1997, and 1998.[…]
He concludes that the small difference between his estimate and the CDC’s “can be attributed to declining rates of violent crime, which accounts for most DGUs [..].”[…]
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.”
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