When the Centers for Disease Control researched gun violence two decades ago, it found that firearms are used to protect citizens more than 2 million times per year, according to an expert criminologist.
Gary Kleck of the Florida State University of Criminology and Criminal Justice recently reported on a CDC study conducted between 1996 and 1998, the results of which were never publicly released.
“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,” Kleck wrote in a summary of his research into what the CDC uncovered, but did not share with the American people.
“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,” Kleck wrote in his paper, according to Reason.
Given the fact that gun ownership is often under reported, the actual number may be higher, Kleck said.
He noted that the CDC itself found “guns were used defensively by victims about 3.6 times as often as they were used offensively by criminals.”
Kleck theorized that politics kept the results quiet.
“(W)hy did CDC personnel decide not to report them?” Kleck wrote.
“One obvious explanation would be that they recognized that their own surveys’ finding of a high (defensive gun use) prevalence was unfriendly to gun control efforts — efforts repeatedly endorsed by CDC-financed researchers.”
According to the criminologist, the facts should have been laid before the people.
“Regardless of how the decision was made, it was a disservice to the American people, who paid for the survey and the information it yielded, but who were not allowed to see it and judge its worth for themselves,” he wrote.
Kleck’s numbers are bigger than those coming from people who try to minimize the prevalence of defensive gun use.
In a 2015 article for Politico, Kleck said those who downplay defensive gun use “hope that total gun prohibition will one day be politically achievable, and they recognize that high numbers of DGUs each year would present an enormous obstacle to persuading Americans that disarming noncriminals would be without serious costs.”
Although the CDC did not disseminate the findings of its late 1990s work, it did share the results of a 2013 study that concluded potential crime victims can avoid injury by being armed, according to CNS News.
“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies,” the CDC study said.
That report also said that “defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.”
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