CDC Failed to Report Strong
Evidence of Defensive Gun Uses

Dr. Gary Kleck

Dean Weingarten. April 27th, 2018
Original Source

Gary Kleck, the award winning criminologist who documented significant levels of defensive gun use (DGU) in American society, has uncovered research done by the CDC that strongly corroborates his findings. Kleck and Gertz's seminal study was done in 1993, presented in 1994, and published in 1995.

The CDC research was done in 1996, 1997, and 1998, but was never publicized.


The BRFSS surveys are high-quality telephone surveys of enormous probability sample of U.S. adults, asking about a wide range of health-related topics. Those that addressed DGUasked more people about this topic than any other surveys conducted before or since. For example, the 1996 survey asked the DGU question of 5,484 people. The next-largest number questioned about DGU was 4,977 by Kleck and Gertz (1995), and sample sizes were much smaller in all the rest of surveys on the topic (Kleck 2001).

The wording of the DGU question in the BRFSS surveys was also excellent, addressing many problems with the wording of the DGU questions used in other surveys. The exact wording was:

“During the last 12 months, have you confronted another person with a firearm, even if you did not fire it, to protect yourself, your property, or someone else?”

Respondents had previously been instructed not to report firearm uses associated with an occupation that “requires and authorizes you to use a firearm.” Thus, the question excluded uses by police and others with firearm-related jobs. Further, the question appropriately excluded uses against animals (“...another person...”), asked about a specific, recent recall period (“during the last 12 months”), covered uses by any type of firearm (not just handguns), covered uses regardless of where they occurred (not just uses in the home), and explicitly told respondents that they should report uses even if they did not fire a gun. In sum, the surveys used an excellent, carefully worded DGU question, in contrast to the wordings used in so many other surveys (Kleck 2001).

The CDC did not directly mention the results of the 1996, 1997, and 1998 research in the paper done on gun control that was overseen by the CDC in 2013. .......

It is unfortunate that these findings were not made public a lot earlier, in particular because so many anti-gun people are convinced that defensive use of firearms is some sort of myth - something they often use against gun owners. It is necessary to constantly remind people just how much even the simple presentation of a gun can halt an attack with no shots fired, by far the most common result - one reason why Alan Korwin states "guns save lives".

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