CDC number of 2.5 Million DGUs gets pulled back to be recalculated

We all remember when this story broke a while back about the CDC hiding a study for 20 years that confirmed that over 2 million defensive gun uses happen in this country every year. Now that original article at Reason has been updated with this…

UPDATE: You will note the original link doesn’t work right now. It was pointed out to me by Robert VerBruggen of National Review that Kleck treats the CDC’s surveys discussed in this paper as if they were national in scope, as Kleck’s original survey was, but they apparently were not. From VerBruggen’s own looks at CDC’s raw data, it seems that over the course of the three years, the following 15 states were surveyed: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. (Those states, from 2000 census data, contained around 27 percent of the U.S. population.) Informed of this, Kleck says he will recalculate the degree to which CDC’s survey work indeed matches or corroborates his, and we will publish a discussion of those fresh results when they come in. But for now Kleck has pulled the original paper from the web pending his rethinking the data and his conclusions.

It is true. Kleck pulled his paper linked from Reason.

Here are some things that I think are of note here… He points out that he first believes that DGUs should be revised upward…

Kleck is less impressed with the fact that the question was only asked of people who admitted to owning guns in their home earlier in the survey, and that they asked no follow-up questions regarding the specific nature of the DGU incident.

From Kleck’s own surveys, he found that only 79 percent of those who reported a DGU “had also reported a gun in their household at the time of the interview,” so he thinks whatever numbers the CDC found need to be revised upward to account for that. (Kleck speculates that CDC showed a sudden interest in the question of DGUs starting in 1996 because Kleck’s own famous/notorious survey had been published in 1995.)

Second, who cares if this sample is only representative of 27% of the US populations. If it truly were apples to apples across the country that will still make it well over 600,000+ DGUs every year.

But here is the big kicker…

You would still have to forecast that number way, way up. Look at the states that were surveyed, and think about the extreme gun control that you have in some of those states. You can’t tell me that there are not far fewer DGUs in states like Hawaii, Maryland, NJ, NY than there are in other states that were not surveyed in which there is not the disenfranchisement like you have in those gun control states that were surveyed. There will be a much higher rate of DGUs that will come from free states had they been surveyed. NY in and of itself is a huge monkey wrench that is artificially waiting down the number of DGUs. Its just not real world to say that these states are representative of the DGUs across the US unless you adjust the number of DGUs much, much higher to account to the extreme gun control laws in these states that act as a restrictive burden to civilians even having the opportunity to defend themselves with guns.

I will not be surprised one bit if the 2.5 million number is much higher once it is more accurately calculated.


  1. Hawaii, Maryland, NJ, NY
    4 of the Democrat controlled States where it is difficult if not impossible (NJ) to get a carry permit.
    So yeah, if they poll ONLY FREE STATES the number could be at least double 2.5 million or more.
    Some of the States listed are Open Carry States and that fact alone could discourage Bad Guys from trying anything. Bad Guys do NOT want to get shot.

  2. The fact that Montana was on the list also skews the results because of their ridiculously low populations. Especially compared to NY.

  3. It’s difficult, probably impossible, to extrapolate these States to the 50+DC. We don’t know how many people were surveyed in each State. A disproportionate number of responders in Louisiana or Hawaii would skew the results high/low respectively. The number of gun-owners in Montana is high; but, the number of people willing to risk getting shot to commit a crime is proportionately lower.

    The phenomena we are studying concerns two highly variable components: pervasiveness of gun-ownership; and, pervasiveness of crime. A State like NJ has low ownership but high crime. A State like LA has high ownership and high crime. VT has high ownership and low crime. Blending data from all these States doesn’t make much sense.

    Instead, residents of States like NJ ought to look at data from States like LA and wonder whether owning a gun might be a worthwhile plan. If you have cause to fear crime, maybe you could defend yourself with a gun.
    Until CDC or someone else does a survey covering all 50+DC and the results are weighted by the population of each State we won’t know more than what was found in Kleck’s original study.

Comments are closed.