CDC Study: Use of Firearms For Self-Defense is ‘Important Crime Deterrent’


CDC gun study

President Obama signs executive order for CDC gun violence study. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – “Self-defense can be an important crime deterrent,”says a new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The $10 million study was commissioned by President Barack Obama as part of 23 executive orders he signed in January.

“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies,” the CDC study, entitled “Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,” states.

The report, which notes that “ violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past five years,” also pointed out that “some firearm violence results in death, but most does not.” In fact, the CDC report said, most incidents involving the discharge of firearms do not result in a fatality.

“In 2010, incidents in the U.S. involving firearms injured or killed more than 105,000 Americans, of which there were twice as many nonfatal firearm-related injuries (73,505) than deaths.”

The White House unveiled a plan in January that included orders to the CDC to “conduct research on the causes and prevention of gun violence.” According to the White House report, “Research on gun violence is not advocacy; it is critical public health research that gives all Americans information they need.”

The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council released the results of their research through the CDC last month. Researchers compiled data from previous studies in order to guide future research on gun violence, noting that “almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.”

“Most felons report obtaining the majority of their firearms from informal sources,” adds the report, while “stolen guns account for only a small percentage of guns used by convicted criminals.”

Researchers also found that the majority of firearm deaths are from suicide, not homicide. “Between the years 2000 and 2010, firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States.”

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(AP Photo)

African American males are most affected by firearm-related violence, with “32 per 100,000” deaths. Risk factors and predictors of violence include income inequality, “diminished economic opportunities . . . high levels of family disruption” and “low levels of community participation.”

The report expresses uncertainty about gun control measures, stating that “whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence is an unresolved issue,” and that there is no evidence “that passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violence crime.” It also stated that proposed  “gun turn-in programs are ineffective.”

Instead, researchers proposed gun safety technologies such as “external locking devices and biometric systems” to reduce firearm-related deaths.

“I thought it was very telling that this report focused so heavily on . . . futuristic technology that’s not been brought to the market in any kind of reliable form that consumers have any interest in,” John Frazer, director of research and information at the National Rifle Association (NRA), told CNSNews.com.

These “smart gun” technologies are “designed to prevent misuse, to prevent either accidents or crimes committed with stolen guns,” Frazer noted. “Obviously it wouldn’t have any effect on crimes committed with a gun purchased by the criminal. It obviously wouldn’t have any effect on suicides by people who bought the guns themselves.” However, “it could have a huge burden on self-defense rights of law-abiding people if they’re forced to use an unproven technology.”

The CDC’s findings - that guns are an effective and often used crime deterrent and that most firearm incidents are not fatal - could affect the future of gun violence research..

The report establishes guidelines meant only for future “taxpayer-funded research,” Frazer said. However, “the anti-gun researchers out there who want to study and promote gun control are perfectly free to get funded to do that by [New York] Mayor Bloomberg or by any number of other organizations or foundations.”

“It depends on who’s doing the research,” Frazer added. “I would be very concerned that a lot of the follow-up research that might come from this agenda would be more of what we’ve seen from the anti-gun public health establishment in the past.”

Calls and an email from CNSNews to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence were not returned..

According to a National Academies press release, organizations supporting the CDC study have close ties to Obama.

When contacted by CNSNews, the Annie E. Casey Foundation issued a statement reaffirming its support for the study, which “is in keeping with our work to collaborate with public agencies, nonprofit organizations, policymakers and community leaders to make a positive impact on the lives of kids, families and communities.” Patrick Corvington, the foundation’s former senior associate, was nominated by Obama and confirmed in 2010 as CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Other supporters include The California Endowment, which has been  promoting Obamacare; The Joyce Foundation, on whose  Board of Directors Obama served for eight years prior to his Senate run;  and Kaiser Permanente, which contributed over half a million dollars to his presidential campaign.