In September 2021, amid the Delta-variant surge during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it had picked up on a new public health threat.
As The Free Press reported at the time, the CDC committed $2.2 million over three years to gather “surveillance data in near-real-time on emergency visits for nonfatal firearm injuries.”
The agency said such data was “currently limited,” and it tapped health departments from 10 states, including Florida, to provide “near-real-time data” that could “support state and local jurisdictions in identifying and responding to emerging public health problems.”
Except the CDC does not seem interested when guns actually save lives.
The conservative website 100% Fed Up reported on Saturday that the CDC yanked down data that showed how often guns are used for possibly life-saving defensive measures.
As the website explained, pro-Second Amendment experts have projected that the U.S. has as many as 2.5 million Defensive Gun Uses (DGUs) each year. A DGU does not mean someone fired their gun. Rather just brandishing a weapon to ward off a possible attacker qualifies.
Gary Kleck, a professor emeritus at Florida State University’s College of Criminology & Criminal Justice, developed the 2.5 million estimate based on surveys of gun owners.
The CDC actually posted that DGUs occurred 60,000 and 2.5 million times a year.
But that came down after a gun-control group complained.
100% Fed Up cited a report by The Epoch Times, which obtained internal communications about the issue through a public records request.
The Times noted that the CDC scrubbed its site of DGU numbers “after holding a private meeting with gun control activists.”
The CDC originally posted: “Estimates of defensive gun use vary depending on the questions asked, populations studied, timeframe, and other factors related to the design of studies. The report Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence indicates a range of 60,000 to 2.5 million defensive gun uses each year.”
Yet that now reads: “Estimates of defensive gun use vary depending on the questions asked, populations studied, timeframe, and other factors related to study design. Given the wide variability in estimates, additional research is necessary to understand defensive gun use prevalence, frequency, circumstances, and outcomes.”
The Times reported that the issue came up last year.
Anti-gun activist Devin Hughes, president and founder of GVPedia, complained about the numbers, calling them “misinformation” — as did Po Murray, chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance, who actually took her beef to White House officials.
Initially, the White House and the CDC stood by their original information.
The CDC changes its website after the meeting.
Apparently, the agency did not consult any source that developed the original estimates used by the CDC.
Kleck told the Times for this article that perhaps as many as 18 other surveys indicate between 500,000 to 5.2 million DGUs per year — and such numbers would undermine gun control arguments.
“High DGU estimates … would present serious problems for those who support prohibitionist measures that would disarm all or most civilians, since such estimates would imply serious costs to disarming all or most prospective crime victims,” Kleck told the Times.
The CDC, meanwhile, maintained that — what else — it was just following the “science.”
“Science leads all CDC decisions. Our goal is to present the science and the data objectively and in language that is easy to understand,” an agency spokesperson told the Times.
The DGU numbers were considered, seemingly after the meeting with gun control advocates “not easily understandable and may be outdated.”
“CDC removed both numbers—the low and high estimates—from the fact sheet and acknowledged that additional research is necessary to understand defensive gun use prevalence, frequency, circumstances, and outcomes,” the spokesperson added.
“CDC does not advocate for or against gun policies. CDC engages with a wide variety of partners every day. It is not unusual for partners to be connected to the agency through members of Congress or the White House. In the past year alone, CDC has met with a number of organizations interested in the topic of firearm injury and violence prevention—including gun rights organizations, gun violence prevention organizations, public health organizations, and medical societies.”
Yet, as the Times reported, “None of the documents that were returned [in the public records request] showed any meetings or discussion with gun rights groups or anybody outside of the gun control activists.”