Image 01 Image 03

CDC Caved to Gun Control Advocates by Removing Defensive Gun Use Stats

CDC Caved to Gun Control Advocates by Removing Defensive Gun Use Stats

The advocates whined the stats make it too hard to pass gun control laws.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) removed its stats on defensive gun uses due to pressure from gun-control advocates, according to The Reload.

The advocates whined the stats make it too hard to pass gun control laws.

Defensive gun use is using a firearm to defend one’s life, someone else’s life, or property.

The Reload published 131 pages of emails about the “lobbying campaign” that ended with a private meeting.

Oh, look! Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is in the middle:

The lobbying campaign spanned months and culminated with a private meeting between CDC officials and three advocates last summer, a collection of emails obtained by The Reload show. Introductions from the White House and Senator Dick Durbin’s (D., Ill.) office helped the advocates reach top officials at the agency after their initial attempt to reach out went unanswered. The advocates focused their complaints on the CDC’s description of its review of studies that estimated defensive gun uses (DGU) happen between 60,000 and 2.5 million times per year in the United States–attacking criminologist Gary Kleck’s work establishing the top end of the range.

“[T]hat 2.5 Million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again,” Mark Bryant, one of the attendees, wrote to CDC officials after their meeting. “It is highly misleading, is used out of context and I honestly believe it has zero value – even as an outlier point in honest DGU discussions.”

Bryant, who runs the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), argued Kleck’s estimate has been damaging to the political prospects of passing new gun restrictions and should be eliminated from the CDC’s website.

“[W]hile that very small study by Gary Kleck has been debunked repeatedly by everyone from all sides of this issue [even Kleck] it still remains canon by gun rights folks and their supporting politicians and is used as a blunt instrument against gun safety regulations every time there is a state or federal level hearing,” he wrote in the same email. “Put simply, in the time that study has been published as ‘a CDC Study’ gun violence prevention policy has ground to a halt, in no small part because of the misinformation that small study provided.”

At first, the CDC didn’t budge from its description of defensive gun use.

That changed in 2021 after a virtual meeting:

“We are planning to update the fact sheet in early 2022 after the release of some new data,” Beth Reimels, Associate Director for Policy, Partnerships, and Strategic Communication at the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, said in one email to the three advocates on December 10th. “We will also make some edits to the content we discussed that I think will address the concerns you and other partners have raised.”

The CDC never reached out to the other side.

But internal discussions show employees were confused over the requests because the defensive gun use definition is straightforward. The CDC also told the advocates to bring studies that disprove Kleck’s research:

Even after the meeting was agreed to, some CDC officials expressed confusion about how there could be a problem with the agency’s description of defensive gun uses. James Mercy, another researcher in the Division of Violence Prevention, noted the description didn’t endorse any particular estimate and merely referred to a CDC-commissioned review of scholarship on the topic.

“I mean all we say on the fact sheet essentially is that you get different estimates of defensive gun use depending on the methods you use to measure it and then point to the National Academy report,” he wrote to Reimels. “Hard to argue against that. What do you think the concern is with this? Or is it something else?”

Mercy also expressed surprise that Bryant was associated with Newtown Action Alliance.

“A few of just met with the CEO of the Gun Violence Archive yesterday – Mark Bryant,” he wrote. “Odd that they would be connected to the Newtown Action Alliance!”

None of the emails in the batch explain the reason for making changes to defensive gun use. One page shows the possibility an explanation took place offline.

The CDC provided an answer to The Trace earlier this year:

Ultimately, the CDC did offer a justification for the change in its response to The Trace’s 2022 inquiry. The agency said it removed the range of DGU estimates and link to its review of research to offer clarity on the issue because the “very wide range” might “raise more questions than it answered.”

“Because estimates of defensive gun use vary depending on the questions asked, populations studied, timeframe, and other factors related to study design, and given the wide variability in previous estimates and the desire to keep the fact sheet short and succinct,” the agency told the publication, “it made the most sense to remove the numbers from the fact sheet and acknowledge that additional research is necessary to understand defensive gun use prevalence, frequency, circumstances, and outcomes.”

Kleck told The Reload that the CDC never contacted him before removing his study from the website. He described the move as “blatant censorship” and shows “the politicization of the agency.”

Kleck opined the removal because you need defensive gun use stats to understand the gun debate:

“The justification for keeping any defensive gun use estimates out in order to keep a fact sheet succinct, it’s just another way of saying we can’t afford to even put one sentence in about the most frequent violence-related use of firearms,” he told The Reload. “That the factsheet is not in any way harmed by including this fact.”

He argued the real purpose of removing the estimates and link to further reading on the topic would result in further confusion for people who visit the site–something he said was the goal of the advocates who lobbied for its deletion.

“You can’t understand any significant aspects of the gun-control debate once you eliminate defensive gun use,” he said. “It becomes inexplicable why so many Americans oppose otherwise perfectly reasonable gun-control measurements. It’s because they think it’s gonna lead to prohibition, and they won’t have a gun for self-defense.

“It’s not complicated.”

The Reload also dissects GVA’s attempts to undermine defensive gun use to fit its narrative and push gun control:

Bryant and GVA have gained notoriety for its count of “mass shootings” that uses a much broader definition, with any shooting where four or more victims are injured compared to the Associated Press definition of four or more killed. The difference in methodology results in a near-ten-fold difference in the number of identified “mass shootings.” GVA’s count, alongside its near-real-time tracking of shootings through media reports, has been widely cited by media outlets since it was launched in 2013.

Conversely, GVA uses the most conservative criteria for what constitutes a defensive gun use. Instead of attempting to capture any time a person legally uses a gun to defend themselves or others, it only counts incidents that make it into media reports or police reports (though it’s unclear how many police reports they have access to). The site’s methodology takes a strikingly dismissive tone towards any other potential defensive gun uses.

“Our policies do not take into account stories not reported, ‘I can’t believe this happened to me’ scenarios or extrapolations from surveys,” the methodology reads. “Our position is that if an incident is significant enough that a responsible gun owner fears for their life and determines a need to threaten lethal force it is significant enough to report to police so law enforcement can stop that perpetrator from harming someone else.”


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


The CDC can no longer be trusted to dispense medical information.

I have had 3 different doctors tell me that the biggest professional shock they had with Covid was that the CDC would lie to them. Even when it was obvious that they were lying.

It is absolutely abhorrent for our government to censor data of any kind.

Why is the CDC studying, researching or publishing ANY stats on gun usage? Guns have NOTHING to do with disease.

    Colonel Travis in reply to Paul. | December 15, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    I believe it started in the Clinton administration with an anti-gun loon who worked for whatever the CDC was called back then.

    ” ‘We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. It used to be that smoking was a glamour symbol — cool, sexy, macho. Now it is dirty, deadly — and banned.’ Rosenberg’s thought is that if we could transform public attitudes toward guns the way we have transformed public attitudes toward cigarettes, we’d go a long way toward curbing our national epidemic of violence.”

      Yet another way those grifting hillbillies caused long term damage to the country. F-ing Ross Perot.

        CommoChief in reply to Paul. | December 15, 2022 at 5:13 pm

        Don’t blame Perot, he was simply an alternative. Blame Bush for breaking his no new taxes pledge which then made voters more receptive to an alternative after that betrayal by Bush.

        Perot was prescient about the DC establishment cabal, about NAFTA/off shoring manufacturing, about the endless wars and the rise of the security State apparatus to monitor and ask control.

    Paula in reply to Paul. | December 15, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    Why? Because the FBI doesn’t have time. All their resources are being used to get Trump.

The Gentle Grizzly | December 15, 2022 at 3:27 pm

Presidential candidate T G Grizzly asks: is there a Constitutional basis for the CDC to exist?

Can we trust the CDC for anything? I think not. It should be defunded, disbanded, bulldozed and salt tilled into the soil where it now stands.

I wonder how things will look when we come out the other end of this cultural revolution we’re living in.


;;; slumps back into chair, drops off to disturbed sleep, chin on chest, drooling on shirt ;;;;

Fat_Freddys_Cat | December 15, 2022 at 3:44 pm

A discussion of statistics like this is interesting, I suppose. But it’s not relevant to the discussion. My right to defend my life does not depend upon statistics.

He described the move as “blatant censorship” and shows “the politicization of the agency.”

“Politicization”?! That means it wasn’t political before, and now it has become political. But the the CDC became political on this subject back in the late ’80s or early ’90s!

The truth is that it has no business inquiring into “gun violence”, because that is not a disease. It’s not caused by a bacterium, a virus, a parasite, or a pollutant, so it’s not a public health issue and is not subject to the kinds of treatment that are appropriate for those. You can’t solve it with a vaccine, or with clean water, or any of the traditional methods in the public health armory.

And that’s why Congress back in the ’90s banned the CDC from taking money designated for “injury prevention and control” and using it “to advocate or promote gun control”. The CDC chose to interpret that as a ban on conducting any research on “gun violence”, thus admitting to what everyone already knew, that the so-called research it had been doing was not genuine value-neutral research, but rather constituted such advocacy and promotion.

    henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | December 15, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    “The truth is that it has no business inquiring into “gun violence”, because that is not a disease.”

    Politicians have gotten used to the cheat that “public health” and “public safety” can be used as root passwords to the constitution. They’re like martial law lite. And they’re right, because we let them get away with it.

    Imagine COVID didn’t exist over the last three years, and then review out of context all the oppressive, unconstitutional, rights-violating orders governments and various levels imposed on us: confining us to our homes, shutting down our livelihoods, destroying our businesses. Are American liberties and constitutional rights subject to complete destruction due to a random bug? The constitution says no; the government says yes.
    Cue the Church Lady: “How conveeeeeenient!”

    Well, when you have found a big hammer, everything gets treated like a nail.

    alaskabob in reply to Milhouse. | December 15, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    True..CDC could use their regular funding for this but was more valuable to claim a full ban on research when the ban was specifically targeted. Deception then, deception now….deception forever if not curtailed.

    The only “treatment” they want is to make firearm ownership..”safe, legal and rare” (borrowing from an abused excuse for defending abortion). Want to reduce the “disease” by over 50% and send gun crime and deaths to lower levels of the EU in one snap of the fingers? Remove all blacks from the US. Which proves it has nothing to do with firearms but really with a small subset of a subset of the population. But that is willful behavior of some people and that is not a disease. CDC wouldn’t expand true testing of other options for treating Covid and that was reinforced by lies from the FDA.

      henrybowman in reply to alaskabob. | December 15, 2022 at 6:36 pm

      “Want to reduce the “disease” by over 50% and send gun crime and deaths to lower levels of the EU in one snap of the fingers? Remove all blacks from the US.”

      The same offender, Rosenberg, played the following sleight of hand:

      When the CDC released the data which are the basis of the above graph, they did not break the data down by race. This, according to Dr. Rosenberg, was because the CDC “did not want to give the impression that ‘this is a racial problem. It is a national problem,’ he said, ‘with the same trends for whites and blacks, and the curve looks the same.'” The reader should have a look at the above graph and decide if Dr. Rosenberg is correctly representing the data and the issue at hand.

      The chart is available on the Internet only in a somewhat grainy page image from the NYT, but it’s clear enough to see a soaring gray mountain labeled “Blacks” and a low, black worm labeled “Whites.”

      Milhouse in reply to alaskabob. | December 16, 2022 at 10:01 am

      Want to reduce the “disease” by over 50% and send gun crime and deaths to lower levels of the EU in one snap of the fingers? Remove all blacks from the US.

      Indeed, that would work. But it is unthinkable, because that cure would be worse than the disease. We all surely agree that we would rather put up with the problem than solve it like that — and why? Because our civil liberties are more important than lives.

      If that were not the case then we would never have had our liberties in the first place, or would soon have lost them, because our forebears would never have fought for them, and been willing to kill and to die for them; or we would soon lose them because we would refuse to fight for them. The fact that our forebears were willing to spend lives — preferably other people’s but if necessary their own — to establish and secure our liberties, and that we continue to be so willing, proves that we value these liberties more than we do lives.

      And if it were not so there are many other, less drastic measures we could take to save lives. We could repeal the fourth and fifth amendments, let the police search at will wherever they suspect they will find evidence of crime, and imprison people we know are very likely to be criminals without the formality of a fair trial, due process, legal representation, proof beyond reasonable doubt, a right against self-incrimination, or any of that. We could also forbid reporting of mass shootings, so as to prevent copycat crimes; for surely human lives are worth more than the freedom of speech! We could ban Islam, and thus prevent jihadist attacks that cost so many lives. And so much more. But we don’t do any of that, would never even contemplate it, because we don’t consider lives to be more important than civil liberties.

      So let’s not hear any more prattle about sweeping away the right to keep and bear arms, in the name of saving lives. Even if doing so would save more lives than it would cost — and all the evidence seems to show the opposite — it would still not be worth doing, because the lives thus saved are worth less than the liberty we would lose.

        alaskabob in reply to Milhouse. | December 16, 2022 at 12:41 pm

        Excellent summation. Franklin was right that giving up essential liberties for temporary safety wind s up with neither. Hkwever, there are those that want to take those less drastic measures You mention to create paradise on earth and save their precious democrscy. Libtery, like good health, once lost is hard to regain.

In my town there is a wrought iron company that makes railings, banisters and other ornamental work. They have a huge sign that says “Fancy Twisting and Turning Done Here”.

I think I need to take it and give it to the CDC.

“that very small study by Gary Kleck has been debunked repeatedly by everyone from all sides of this issue”

Horseshit. The left has gotten so used to “debunking” things by just claiming they are “debunked.” We call the practice “adventures in baselessness.”

An outlier? Hardly. Kleck is a MIDLIER among over a dozen studies that put the number of annual DGUs (defensive gun uses) somewhere between 750,000 to 3.6 million, averaging just under 2M per year. And even the smallest of those study results is TWICE the number of annual firearms CRIMES (not just homicides). And this is a result that even studies by pro-gun-control researchers have duplicated.

Check out the colorful bar chart on this page, presented so clearly that even the innumerate numbnutz at the CDC can understand it.

But they don’t want to understand it. They want to redefine your rights away like they redefined “vaccine” away — to do whatever it is they want.

The CDC’s antipathy towards the second amendment is legendary. In the mid-’90s, officials there made no secret of the fact that they wanted to ban all guns. Director Mark Rosenberg MD: “We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. It used to be that smoking was a glamour symbol – cool, sexy, macho. Now it is dirty, deadly—and banned.” This, of course, isn’t medicine—it’s politics.

And it’s the reason Congress in 1996 passed the Dickey Amendment, which prevented the CDC from using its funding “to advocate or promote gun control.” The left seethed and whined, continually mischaracterizing the law as banning “all research into gun violence”—which it didn’t—until they finally got it repealed.

And proof that it didn’t ban research into gun violence is the CDC study on gun violence commissioned by President Obama in 2002, when the Dickey Amendment was still in full flower (CDC/BRFSS). Its results were buried and never publicized, because it trashed the gun control narrative, and supported both the gun-culture DGU estimates and the gun-culture opinion on the objective total inefficacy of gun control law.

It has its own line on that color chart of DGU estimates linked above. It’s the third highest.

They will still have to get around the SCOTUS. They already found that’s not going to be easy.

“”…has been damaging to the political prospects of passing new gun restrictions and should be eliminated from the CDC’s website.”

So curating “evidence” to support what they’ve already decided to do?

Faci’s running the CDC now? I wondered what he was gonna do in retirement.

    henrybowman in reply to BierceAmbrose. | December 15, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    The Dickey Amendment was passed expressly because the CDC was not trustworthy.
    The left screamed until it was repealed.
    And now the CDC is proving again that it is not trustworthy.

      BierceAmbrose in reply to henrybowman. | December 15, 2022 at 7:14 pm

      Yeah, we reap what The Feckles R’s sow.

      Every whine about “research into gun violence” from The Screaming D’s and their operatives should have been followed by a direct response — agree, and pin it on them.

      Where are the frakking Feckless R positions and language. They’re so bad, even when they take a position that’s right, they position it so they’re guaranteed to lose. (Wait, that’s a feature, not a bug.)

      “Oh, I agree. If the CDC / Feds hadn’t buried for years the studies commissioned under Clinton people might believe what new studies find.

      “As it is, that episode was so egregiously corrupted, we had to shut down all spending on studies on that topic. They’d just lie again. This isn’t the way to approach anything we’re trying to solve, but what do you expect from people who imposed the useless Assault Weapons ban, using a scare-mongering made-up term.”

      Every. Single. Time.

Ever since Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders declared masturbation a public health issue, the proper techniques of which should be taught in public schools, guns have fallen under the purview of public health authorities. They are a phallic symbol.

My favorite portrayal of the CDC was in “The Stand” .

Classic, Soviet-style move by the greasy and mendacious Dumb-o-crat apparatchik-snakes — when the facts prove inconvenient to the Narrative (TM), either ignore them, distort them, or, bury them.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to guyjones. | December 15, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    And Lysenkoism didn’t starve any of the Nomenklatura.

      I learned a new word to add to my Soviet Union-era lexicon (“Lysenkoism”). Thank you, comrade!

      alaskabob in reply to BierceAmbrose. | December 16, 2022 at 3:23 pm

      The Soviets had a way with words and now the Neo-Stalinists (aka Democrat Party) have taken their cue.

        BierceAmbrose in reply to alaskabob. | December 17, 2022 at 3:22 pm

        Consider the mandatory Orwell reference inserted here. BUT, while the go-to is most often 1984, other stuff is more illuminating.

        — The manipulation of language plays out, both closer-tied to real events, and more illuminating as allegory in Animal Farm. 1984 is about totalitarianism. Animal Farm is about delusion off self and others.

        — “Politics and the English Language”. Just an innocuous little essay. (Snort.) Pairs nicely with John D MacDonald’s “Reading for Survival”, actually. (Side note, I’ve coached and taught Software Engineering from “Politics and the English Language”, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, and the Alice books. I like Alice in Wonderland, while a late colleague preferred Through the Looking Glass.)

        — The Original Radio Scripts, under whatever title, in whatever form or edition you can find them these days. Orwell reported on world events for the BBC (or whatever it was then called) in India, in the run-up and during WW II. He was a practicing propagandist. Fascinating as he was also somewhere from a disaffected to practicing Socialist, yet advocating for The Empire, in a colonized land — this is the guy who wrote “Shooting an Elephant” after all, to in RealPolitik keep them from throwing in with their in many ways more natural fit with The Axis. And what a proper mess that would have been.

Ban criminals and Democrat “heroes”?

That said, life matters. Ban double-edged scalpels that abort millions of human lives annually, in the clinic, in the street, in psychiatric offices (e.g. tran/neo-gender conversion therapy).

The last few years have done at least one good thing perpetrated by the Permanent Bureaucracy and Progressive Hacks: Destroyed any faith Americans have in the Cathedral.

“….if an incident is significant enough that a responsible gun owner fears for their life and determines a need to threaten lethal force it is significant enough to report to police so law enforcement can stop that perpetrator from harming someone else.”

Cute. People who use force lawfully to resist criminal attacks have every expectation today that they will be prosecuted, because the state is trying to discourage resistance to crime (and, by extension, discouraging resistance to government’s use of force and violence). That’s good reason for anyone who doesn’t leave mark on someone to not report the use of a gun to successfully resist a criminal attack.

“so law enforcement can stop that perpetrator from harming someone else”..note … someone else as they recognize you have already been harmed and the police will gladly document your incident. “Leave it to the professionals”… who arrive after the crime. The animal kingdom has two types of defense….. hide or make the attacker pay big time. The “hide” versions always live in the shadows… weak and insecure. The “payback” ones can go about their way knowing that … from history… predators know this doesn’t end well If you want to protect criminals (your bro’s) then forcing people into hide mode is the right choice. Ine choice is weak … the other meek. Big difference. I prefer “the meek” inheriting the world.

Why are they claiming Kleck has repudiated his own study?

It’s time to defund the CDC and the NIH. I don’t mean reduce the increases in spending, and I don’t mean cut the budget a few percent. Remove it entirely from the budget, close it, and fire all employees beyond a skeleton staff of janitors and security guards (on the GAO budget) to watch the empty buildings.

Perhaps we should have an agency for the control of epidemic infectious diseases, but it should have a much smaller budget and be absolutely barred from any work on diseases that are not rapidly spreading and infectious. And everyone who ever worked for the CDC or NIH must be banned from being hired by the new agency. We can’t ban former employees from testilieing before Congress, but we certainly can require that the first such testimony automatically releases funds for a special prosecutor’s office to investigate and prosecute perjury before Congress and all other government bodies, federal or state.