Gary Kleck, a criminologist now retired from Florida State University, was likely astonished to learn that his controversial study, The National Self-Defense Survey, was accurate after all. He and FSU fellow professor Marc Gertz concluded, based on their carefully-crafted surveys conducted in 1993, that there were more than 2.2 million defensive gun uses (DGU) each year in the United States. The results were presented in 1994, published in 1995, and have been incessantly attacked by the anti-gun movement ever since. His conclusions didn’t fit the anti-gun narrative that guns are used in crimes far more than in self-defense and therefore private ownership must be abolished.
Kleck just learned that almost immediately after the publication of his study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency that receives more than $11 billion of taxpayer money every year, conducted its own study of the matter. It conducted three separate studies, in fact, and each of them came to the same conclusion as Kleck and Gertz: Indeed, about 2.5 million Americans use guns to defend themselves or their families every year.
But the CDC studies were never published.
It would have infuriated the powers-that-be in the Clinton administration, and so the results were buried.
After reviewing the newly-discovered/recovered studies, Kleck — in his best professorial manner — wrote:
The final adjusted prevalence of 1.24% [of the population experiencing a DGU in the past twelve months] 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 [by me and Marc] Gertz in 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.
Kleck added, “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.”
In other words, the CDC got caught hiding information damaging to the anti-gun narrative then prevalent during the Clinton administration. But they didn’t bury it deeply enough.
Dean Weingarten, recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army research, development, testing, and evaluation, knew exactly what the CDC was up to, calling “the timing and size of the surveys done by the CDC … fascinating. They were done immediately after Kleck and Gertz published their paper.”
Weingarten noted that
Gary Kleck, as a scientist, a Democrat, and a proponent of a number of gun control measures, is careful not to cast aspersions on the CDC. He does not accuse anyone of malfeasance. He notes the surveys were done during the Clinton administration, and these findings would have worked against the gun control agenda of the administration.
Someone at the CDC made the decision not to publish these results.
Does any of this matter? It’s common knowledge that operatives supportive of the gun-control narrative have infiltrated various government agencies. These studies took place more than 20 years ago. There’s been a lot of water under that bridge since then. Private ownership of guns has skyrocketed, while overall gun violence has fallen by half. National reciprocity has already passed one branch of Congress. Americans own more weaponry than any other country on Earth.
It matters because first, it removes one more “talking point” used by anti-gunners to defend their intention to remove firearms from every law-abiding gun owner in the country. Second, it confirms that government agencies cannot be trusted without verification. Third, it is one more argument in the arsenal of those promoting private gun ownership to those who haven’t yet made up their minds.
That means that the real battlefield isn’t between Kleck’s study and the the CDC’s failure to admit the truth. Anti-gunners aren’t likely to change sides merely because of deceit committed by one of their own 25 years ago. The real battle is in the hearts and minds of Americans who will one day have to take a stand on the issue, one way or the other.
This obvious example of deceit on the part of the CDC is just one more reason why education is of paramount importance. Educating the American populace is key on the issues involving gun control and gun ownership. And it’s precisely there where the educational programs of organizations such as the John Birch Society come into play — programs such as Support Your Local Police, Stop a Con Con, Get US Out! Of the United Nations, Get US Out! of NAFTA to stop the North American Union, and others.
An Ivy League graduate and former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at email@example.com.