Not too far in the distant past, you could jump on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website and see statistics and studies showing uses of a gun in defense of oneself or others far exceeded the number of violent gun crimes in the United States. However, a series of emails leaked in an article by The Reload indicates the CDC quietly removed the studies from its website upon the request of activists hoping to pass more gun-control policies.

What Did the Studies Find?

Gary Kleck, Professor Emeritus of the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Florida published a study citing that between 60,000 and 2.5 million defensive gun uses happen every year in the United States. The CDC’s report [based on Kleck’s findings] stated “another body of research estimated annual gun use for self-defense to be much higher, up to 2.5 million incidents, suggesting that self-defense can be an important crime deterrent.” It goes on to say that “some studies on the association between self-defensive gun use and injury or loss to the victim have found less loss and injury when a firearm is used.”

So, in conclusion, the study used by the CDC seemed to have indicated that firearms are more likely to save a life during a self-defense incident than be used to take one in a violent crime. These statistics have been used in many legislative debates, often deterring many of the strict measures many gun-control politicians have attempted to pass.

Why the Removal?

Emails obtained by The Reload present a clear picture of gun-control activists lobbying the CDC for the removal of the report. Initial introductions to top officials at the CDC on behest of the activists were orchestrated by the White House and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in a completely different set of emails. In one email, one of the activists, Mark Bryant, wrote “[T]hat 2.5 million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again,” and that “Kleck’s estimate has been damaging to the political prospects of passing new gun restrictions and should be eliminated from the CDC’s website.”

The CDC initially resisted the removal of the study. But after a meeting in September of 2021, decided to go forward with the requests. Beth Reimels, Associate Director for Policy, Partnerships, and Strategic Communication at the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, wrote “we will also make some edits to the content we discussed that I think will address the concerns you and other partners have raised.” Never having been consulted on the removal of the statistics, Kleck stated that the “CDC is just aligning itself with the gun-control advocacy groups,” and “it’s just saying: ‘We are their tool, and we will do their bidding.’ And that’s not what a government agency should do.”

Some Truth About Defensive Use of Guns

Oftentimes, you will hear reports of gun violence plaguing the United States; yet, hardly ever hear of any reports of the defensive use of guns. A record 22.1 million Americans now hold a concealed carry permit. Women and minorities have increasingly been the demographics of individuals obtaining their concealed carry permits in the past few years as crime has risen in major cities. Dr. John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center said that “women in particular” are “about 2.4 times more likely to end up being seriously injured than a woman who has a gun to protect herself.” Furthermore, Maj Toure, the founder of Black Guns Matter, stated, “I believe that more Black people would be alive if they were armed.”

Unfortunately, as crime skyrockets across the United States, the defensive use of guns will be drastically underreported while gun crime remains at the top of the political news cycle.