Politics: Obama orders CDC gun violence study, study shreds his position

Published by: Robert Laurie on Thursday June 27th, 2013

Robert Laurie

By ROBERT LAURIE - Guns used overwhelmingly for defense, make carriers safer

Earlier this year, President Obama signed a set of executive orders targeting gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. Among them was an edict commanding the CDC to do a comprehensive survey of studies regarding guns and gun violence in the United States. Clearly, once the CDC produced the hard evidence that the US was a violent nation of wild-west shootouts, the American people would be eager to approve and fund future research while embracing strict gun control legislation.

At least that was the plan.  The study, which was compiled by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council under the CDC's direction, was recently completed and released. The anti-gun crowd has been awfully quiet about it. Could it be that it didn't support their bogus hypothesis?

In a word, Yes. The CDC's numbers basically back every pro-gun rights argument made over the course of the last year.

First and foremost, the majority of annual gun-related deaths are due to suicide, not crime.

The study finds that "Between the years 2000-2010 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 firearms related violence in the United States.”

While this is still a depressing statistic, it supports gun-rights advocates' claims that the country has a mental health problem, not a gun owner problem.  In fact, the study found that those who own guns, carry them, and fight back against criminals are actually fare better in dangerous situations.

The report notes that virtually all studies which "assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns” found the same thing.  There are "consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

But self-defense with a firearm is incredibly uncommon. After all, that's what the lefties are always telling us, so it must be true. Right?

Wrong.

The CDC report finds that "Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence."  In fact, while exact statistics are hard to come by, the report indicates 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, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008."

So, there's as much as a 10 to 1 ratio of defensive firearm use vs. offensive use, though admittedly the 3 million figure is probably a bit high. 

On the downside, the study does indicate that we have the most firearm related deaths of any wealthy western nation, but - contrary to what the left would like you to believe - those numbers are declining.  Things are getting better, not worse.

The report indicates that “Overall crime rates have declined in the past decade, and violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past 5 years." However, “Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of firearm-related violent victimizations remained generally stable.”

According to the report, “firearm-related death rates for youth ages 15 to 19 declined from 1994 to 2009," while the number of accidental shootings declined as well. The report states that “Unintentional firearm-related deaths have steadily declined during the past century. The number of unintentional deaths due to firearm-related incidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010.”

We all know the United States has too much crime, and yes, too much gun violence. No one is arguing that we don't need to work to bring those numbers down.  However, expanded gun control has never been the answer.  The report recommends further research on a variety of topics, among them the effects of gun safety tech, videogame violence, and alcohol availability on gun crime. Still, with all of the above data in mind, we wouldn't expect to see Obama and Biden waving their study around. It simply does too much damage to many of their specious claims. 

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Here's a couple of other reports on the study, from the Las Vegas Guardian and Slate.com

...and here's the complete set of further research recommendations.