For decades, the government and anti-gun groups have been keeping information hidden from the general public about how often a gun is used in a self-defense situation. The reason is that the numbers are startling. In fact, the government’s own recently discovered research of defensive gun use (DGU) conducted from 1996-1998 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that guns were used by victims for self-defense 3.6 times more often than guns were used by criminals.
In 1995, Florida State University professors of criminology, Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, published the results of their in-depth study of how often guns were used for protection in the United States. The study, “Armed Resistance to Crime:The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,” was published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, in the fall of 1995.
Their findings were in stark contrast to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The NCVS routinely reports that guns are used for self-defense only about 60,000-82,000 times per year. Kleck’s study, which also took into account 13 other independent surveys ignored by the CDC, indicated DGUs occurred over 760,000 times a year. Kleck contends that the actual number is closer to 2.5 million.
The problem with the NCVS, according to Kleck and other researchers, is that the NCVS is incomplete and inaccurate—it does not even ask the respondents if they used a gun in their own defense!
And this DOJ annual survey is what the gun control advocates and media espouse and rely upon in pushing their anti Second Amendment agenda.
But what the government failed to disclose is that back in the late nineties, the CDC conducted a more detailed and in-depth study specifically of DGU in the wake of the Kleck report. In massive surveys from 1996-1998, the CDC asked: “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?”
What the findings revealed was surprising to everyone except Kleck.
The CDC study revealed that approximately 2.46 million DGUs occur per year. Over the three year period covered by the study, an average of 1.07 percent of the people admitted to a DGU. These figures support the findings of Kleck and Gertz in their 1995 report. (A Harvard University study conducted from 2007-2011 revealed 0.9 percent of respondents used a gun to protect themselves during a violent incident.)
Kleck cautions that the CDC study was conducted in only 17 states and was not national in scope, so he is further analyzing the data taking that factor into consideration before publishing his conclusions.
What did the government do with this information? It chose to keep the information from the public and did not publish the CDC findings, nor does it even acknowledge it ever conducted the survey. Fortunately, Kleck was recently able to obtain the unpublished raw survey data that was part of the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and reaffirmed his earlier findings.
No explanation has been forthcoming from the CDC or the DOJ as to why this information was not shared with the public and kept hidden for nearly twenty years.
What the numbers previously withheld by the government reveal is that law-abiding citizens should be allowed to carry a gun for protection. We do not need more legislation in place that restricts or regulates a citizen’s right to bear arms. Crime can happen to anyone, anytime, and anyplace. Regardless of the number of DGUs, the most important one is when it happens to you.
As a law-abiding gun owner, make certain you stay up-to-date with the changing laws by attending a Gun Law Seminar. Our seminars will inform you of the laws you need to know in your state so you can best defend yourself. Go to uslawshield.com/seminar to find a seminar near you.