A new report says gun rights opponents successfully lobbied the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to delete information on Americans who rely upon the Second Amendment to defend themselves.
According to emails collected by The Reload, pressure groups were assisted in their campaign by the Biden White House and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who paved the way for anti-gun advocates to meet with CDC officials.
The core issue was the CDC’s description of a review of studies that estimated defensive gun uses in the United States take place between 60,000 and 2.5 million times per year, according to emails obtained by The Reload.
After complaints from a trio of gun-control advocates, the CDC quietly altered its website to remove a range of estimates on how often guns are used in self-defense. https://t.co/tKmo3v3BNg
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) December 15, 2022
Anti-gun advocate Mark Bryant focused on the high end of the range in his communications with the CDC.
“[T]hat 2.5 Million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again,” he wrote according to an email obtained by The Reload.
“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 runs the Gun Violence Archive and said his reasoning was that with that study out of sight, passing gun control legislation will be simpler.
“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,” he wrote.
“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,” he wrote.
About three months later, Beth Reimels, Associate Director for Policy, Partnerships, and Strategic Communication at the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, said the advocates would soon be happy.
“We are planning to update the fact sheet in early 2022 after the release of some new data. We will also make some edits to the content we discussed that I think will address the concerns you and other partners have raised,” she wrote.
The change did not come without some resistance
“We stand behind our fact sheet, which essentially points out that estimates of defensive gun use vary depending on the data source, questions asked, populations studied, timeframes, and other factors related to the design of studies,” Linda Dahlberg, a senior advisor to the director of the Divison of Violence Prevention wrote in August 2021.
The current CDC text on defensive gun uses omits any statistics on how common they are.
Official CDC position on defensive gun use: https://t.co/XyvnwTEldU pic.twitter.com/EwULP8ahGt
— Defensive Gun Use (@DefensiveGun) June 26, 2022
Kleck, who is a Professor Emeritus at Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, said the CDC never contacted him and said it was engaged in “blatant censorship.”
“CDC is just aligning itself with the gun-control advocacy groups. It’s just saying: ‘we are their tool, and we will do their bidding.’ And that’s not what a government agency should do,” Kleck said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.