Why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “Banned” from Conducting Firearms Research

Tongue-in-cheek, click-bait title aside, the CDC is not in fact “banned” from conducting such research.  The institution is only banned from using public funds to push a preconceived agenda: “Provided further that none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control (emphasis added).

Research away, CDC.  Doing so is not prohibited at all.  People who lament this “ban” are either simply ignorant or self-evidently pining for a legal opportunity to spend other people’s confiscated money to “advocate or promote gun control” (or more likely, both).

And in fact, the CDC has conducted firearms-related research since this prohibition took effect.  Indeed, included in Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys conducted in 1996, 1997, and 1998, the CDC asked respondents the following question: “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?”  (This survey excluded respondents whose professions would inherently include such instances (e.g., police, military, etc.) and defensive uses against animals.)

The results of these surveys were very illuminating.  They confirm that 2.46 million Americans defend themselves with firearms on average per year (at the time), a figure that supports Florida State criminology Professor Gary Kleck’s previous finding of ~2.5 million such uses per year, research he conducted in 1993 and subsequently published in 1995.  We are all quite sure that the timing of the CDC’s research is purely coincidentally related to the timing of Professor’s Kleck’s previous findings.

These figures, when compared against the National Crime Victimization Survey estimates (of the time), indicate that legal defensive gun uses (DGU) occur at ~3.6 times the rate of firearms-related violent offenses.

However, as Kleck points out, “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.”

Hmm… now why would that be, particularly when the institution thought this was an important enough topic to research for three consecutive years, immediately following the release of Kleck’s research results?

This is, of course, rhetorical.  The CDC is not an institution that is genuinely interested in the pursuit of truth – at least insofar as firearms are concerned.  And that is why the institution is properly banned from using public resources to “advocate or promote gun control” under the guise of fiat legitimacy.  The institution is untrustworthy in this regard, plain and simple, and it is not even particularly well-disguised.

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