CDC drops data on defensive gun use following pressure from activists

December 17, 2022

The Daily Caller has reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scrubbed its website of data on defense firearm use following pressure from anti-gun activists.

At issue was a review of several studies by criminologist Gary Kleck which estimated that privately owned guns are used defensively anywhere from 60,000 to 2.5 million times a year.

Anti-gun activist said CDC's defensive gun use estimates should be "be killed, buried"

A website called Reload has obtained emails sent between Gun Violence Archive (GVA) head Mark Bryant and the CDC.

In one, Bryant declared that the "[T]hat 2.5 Million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again."

"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 [defensive gun use] discussions," the anti-gun activist went on to insist.

The Reload noted that at first, the CDC continued to maintain a "defensive gun use" section on the "fast facts" portion of its website. However, that changed following a previously undisclosed meeting with anti-gun activists in September.

Beth Reimels serves as associate director for policy, partnerships, and strategic communication at the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, and she explained that the information would be scrubbed.

"We are planning to update the fact sheet in early 2022 after the release of some new data," Reimels wrote in an email on September 5.

Criminologist condemns move as "blatant censorship"

The CDC's website now states, "Although definitions of defensive gun use vary, it is generally defined as the use of a firearm to protect and defend oneself, family, other people, and/or property against crime or victimization."

"Estimates of defensive gun use vary depending on the questions asked, populations studied, timeframe, and other factors related to study design," it continues.

"Given the wide variability in estimates, additional research is necessary to understand defensive gun use prevalence, frequency, circumstances, and outcomes."

Kleck told The Reload that he stands behind his research while condemning the CDC's move as an example of "blatant censorship."

"CDC is just aligning itself with the gun-control advocacy groups. It’s just saying: ‘we are their tool, and we will do their bidding.’ And that’s not what a government agency should do," he added

For its part, the CDC has said that the change was made because referring to a "very wide range" of defensive gun use estimates tended to "raise more questions than it answered."


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