US

CDC Survey On Defensive Gun Use Was Never Publicized

Defensive gun use (DGU) happens more regularly in the United States than gun crimes, according to data the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) never publicized.

Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck has been arguing that point for a quarter of a century, saying that his own research led him to believe that DGU was far more prevalent than gun-control advocates claim.

The CDC’s data, collected a few years after Kleck’s survey, appears to corroborate his findings, Reason.com reported. The question asked in the CDC survey addressed the use or threatened use of a firearm to deter a crime. “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?”

Kleck, upon reviewing the CDC’s data, noted just how close it came to mirroring his own.

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.

Many gun control advocates have complained about the fact that the CDC is limited with regard to research on gun violence. A 1996 amendment to a spending bill bars the organization from using congressionally allocated funds to “advocate or promote gun control.”

What those fighting for stronger gun-control generally leave out is the fact that the CDC is not barred from doing any research on gun violence — and the research it has done in the last two decades has largely corroborated Kleck’s findings.