By: Robert Davis

People use guns defensively much more often than the mainstream media cares to admit, a study the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) kept quiet for years has revealed.

According to the report, there are more than 2.2 million incidents of defensive gun use (DGU) in the U.S. every year. The CDC had asked about DGUs in its Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 1996, 1997, and 1998, but didn’t make the results known publicly. The CDC report backs-up research Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck conducted in the 1990s that was deemed “controversial” for years.

“Kleck’s study, which has been harshly disputed in pro-gun-control quarters, indicated that there were more than 2.2 million such DGUs in America a year,” reports. “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.”

In an updated report, Kleck describes the CDC polls as “high-quality telephone surveys of enormous probability samples of U.S. adults, asking about a wide range of health-related topics. Those that addressed DGU asked more people about this topic than any other surveys conducted before or since.”

Major media outlets seem to be ignoring the survey.

NPR revisited the DGU controversy last week, with a thin piece that backs the National Crime Victimization Survey’s lowball estimate of around 100,000 such uses a year. NPR seemed unaware of those CDC surveys,” reports.

The 1996 Dickey Amendment stripped the CDC of federal funding, and researchers stopped working on gun-related projects. Congress shifted the $2.6 million CDC had earmarked for studying gun violence and prevention into a fund for studying traumatic brain injuries instead.

President Trump’s pick to lead the CDC, Robert Redfield, agreed last Thursday there is no prohibition to conducting research into gun violence.

Robert Davis is a journalist from Colorado. He covers defensive gun use and Second Amendment policy for Gunpowder Magazine. Contact him at

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