A federal agency removed from its website references to its own gun statistics when gun control activists complained the information made gun control laws more difficult to get.
That’s according to emails that were exchanged between the Centers for Disease Control and the gun control activists.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that the issue is the estimated number for defensive uses of guns per year.
That was estimated at between 60,000 and 2.5 million “based on a review of various studies,” the emails revealed.
The group pursuing gun control complained to the CDC that the 2.5 million number, based on a study by criminologist Gary Kleck, was wrong and that “made it hard to pass gun control laws.”
Following the complaints, the CDC took down the statistics.
“[T]hat 2.5 Million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again,” claimed Mark Bryant, who runs the Gun Violence Archive, in his message to the CDC. “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.”
The number had been in the CDC’s “fast facts” section of its website, but shortly later was removed, according to a report in the Reload.
The information that was deleted was from the CDC’s own study, the report said.
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“The lobbying campaign spanned months and culminated with a private meeting between CDC officials and three advocates last summer, a collection of emails obtained by The Reload show. Introductions from the White House and Senator Dick Durbin’s (D., Ill.) office helped the advocates reach top officials at the agency after their initial attempt to reach out went unanswered,” the report said.
“The advocates focused their complaints on the CDC’s description of its review of studies that estimated defensive gun uses (DGU) happen between 60,000 and 2.5 million times per year in the United States–attacking criminologist Gary Kleck’s work establishing the top end of the range.”
Bryant complained that Kleck’s information was “damaging” the political prospects of imposing new gun restrictions on Americans.
He claimed that Kleck’s study had been “debunked.”
It was shortly after a virtual meeting with those who were complaining that the CDC changed its site, the report said.
“We are planning to update the fact sheet in early 2022 after the release of some new data,” CDC official Beth Reimels said by email to three others.
She promised that the edits would “address the concerns you and other partners have raised.”
The Reload said the CDC didn’t respond to a request for comment.
But the report noted, “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. The relationship between the two, already frayed over the Coronavirus pandemic, could reach new lows not seen in decades. During the 1990s, Congress put restrictions on CDC funding in response to officials openly working with gun-control groups to try and ban handguns.”
Kleck is professor emeritus at Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and stands by his work.
“He said the CDC did not reach out to him for his perspective before making the change. He argued the removal of the reference to his estimate was ‘blatant censorship’ and said it was evidence of the politicization of the agency,” the report explained.
The new revision on the website states, “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.”
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