- The CDC stands for the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention). That is, it is about the control of infectious or other kinds of disease, and thus research into guns represents mission creep.
- The CDC would immediately be used as a friendly home for gun control advocates to produce shoddy, biased work that would be used to cloak their activities in the white lab coat of science while ignoring anything that contradicted the party line.
Congress passed an amendment to a spending bill that forbade the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using money to “advocate or promote gun control.”(Dickey later expressed regret for his part in introducing the bill.) So it was no small surprise to me when Reason published a piece yesterday indicating that the CDC had actually performed research on the defensive use of guns after that legislation passed, in 1996, 1996, and 1998. What they found was that guns were used literally millions of times annually for self-defense, the vast majority of which did not involve firing a single shot. (Emboldening in the passages below are mine, as ever.)
The National Rifle Association had pushed for the amendment, after public-health researchers produced a spate of studies suggesting that, for example, having a gun in the house increased risk of homicide and suicide. It deemed the research politically motivated. ...
The actual amendment sponsored by Jay Dickey, a congressman from Arkansas, did not explicitly forbid research into gun-related deaths, just advocacy. But the Congress also lowered the CDC’s budget by the exact amount it spent on such research.
Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck conducted the most thorough previously known survey data on the question in the 1990s. His study, which has been harshly disputed in pro-gun-control quarters, indicated that there were more than 2.2 million such defensive uses of guns (DGUs) in America a year.The CDC survey turned up numbers very similar to (but not identical with) Kleck's more recently (2001) published figures, a discrepancy Kleck attributes to a generally declining crime rate since then. (Gun control advocates are more wont to use National Crime Victimization Survey figures of about 100,000, an order of magnitude smaller.) The essay makes no effort to determine CDC's the motives for burying these results, but the obvious ones are
Now Kleck has unearthed some lost CDC survey data on the question. The CDC essentially confirmed Kleck's results. But Kleck didn't know about that until now, because the CDC never reported what it found.
- CDC honchos were gunshy, as it were, about publishing anything on the subject after a significant maelstrom that resulted in funding cuts.
- They did not like the results they got, and hid them.
- Some other reason.