A few years back, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) commissioned a study and associated fact sheet about defensive gun uses (DGU) that showed anywhere from 60,000 to 2.5 million tragedies are prevented with firearms every single year in the United States. You will be hard-pressed to find that information anymore, though, since the CDC tossed the data in response to complaints from anti-Second Amendment extremists who said it made passing more gun control laws extremely difficult.
A lobbying campaign was mounted that spanned several months and ended with a private meeting between CDC officials and three gun control extremists. Emails obtained by The Reload show that Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) office spearheaded the effort, which resulted in critical DGU statistics being scrubbed from the CDC’s data archives.
“[T]hat 2.5 Million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again,” wrote Mark Bryant, one of the attendees, in an email to CDC officials following the meeting. “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 discussions.”
Bryant is in charge of the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), an anti-Second Amendment extremist group that is constantly pushing for more gun restrictions in the United States in response to mass shootings. Bryant argued that the work of criminologist Gary Kleck, who helped put together the DGU data from the CDC, needed to be scrubbed completely from the agency’s website.
“And while that very small study by Gary Kleck has been debunked repeatedly by everyone from all sides of this issue [even Kleck] it still remains canon by gun rights folks and their supporting politicians and is used as a blunt instrument against gun safety regulations every time there is a state or federal level hearing,” Bryant added in an email.
“Put simply, in the time that study has been published as ‘a CDC Study’ gun violence prevention policy has ground to a halt, in no small part because of the misinformation that small study provided.”
The CDC had previously stood behind the DFU section of its “fast facts” website on gun violence, stating that the data was scientifically sound and important for the public to see. However, after an undisclosed virtual meeting with anti-Second Amendment extremists on Sept. 15, 2021, the CDC suddenly changed its tune and decided that the data was going to be removed.
“We are planning to update the fact sheet in early 2022 after the release of some new data,” said Beth Reimels, Associate Director for Policy, Partnerships, and Strategic Communication at the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, in an email to the three advocates on December 10 of that same year.
“We will also make some edits to the content we discussed that I think will address the concerns you and other partners have raised.”
The CDC has refused to comment on the matter ever since. The agency also made no attempts whatsoever to gain any outside perspectives beyond what the three anti-gun zealots presented at the private virtual meeting, which resulted in a complete reversal of the agency’s former position on the data.
“The decision to remove a CDC-commissioned report from the agency’s website on gun statistics at the apparent behest of gun-control advocates may further strain its relationship with Congressional overseers, especially pro-gun Republicans who are set to take control of the House next year,” writes Stephen Gutowski for The Reload.
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