CDC and Firearms--By Their Numbers

May 21, 2018

I recently stopped in to take a look at some Center for Disease Controls—a federal agency—reports and came across First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws; Findings from the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. 

This is the famous 2003 report that caused a lot of public scorn—and for good reasons. 

In the very first paragraph this taxpayer funded report notes gun deaths in the US are declining. Here a federal agency admits what liberal mass media news outlets will not report. And for the 26,800 plus firearms related deaths reported and recoded in 2003, the numbers reveal 16,500 were suicides. Next, only about 10,000 firearms related deaths were homicides and about 700 of the recorded deaths were unintentional, equals accidents or other. 

Thus, the recent NSSF program to combat suicides and prevent them is spot on.

Now, back to the numbers in this federally funded CDC report. Wow, there 1.4 MILLION violent crimes committed in 1999 in the US but only 24% involved the use of a firearm.  This ia LOW number! What is lacking is what was used in the other approximately 850,000 other violent crimes. Maybe there should be restrictions and ownership tests applied to baseball bats, knives, hammers and other if we want to save lives. A science-based study would have reported the numbers on the other contributors to those deaths. More interesting is that the CDC report indicates there are enough guns in the US that there is basically one per person. The report further reveals that the number of homes with firearms has been rising, from 35% to more than 40%.

More numbers from the report are: there are basically 192 million firearms owned in the United States (in a 1994 survey) and 65 million of those were handguns; 70 million were rifles; 49 million were shotguns; and the remainder were other guns (7). Among handgun owners, 34% kept their guns loaded and unlocked. An estimated 10 million handguns, one sixth of the handguns owned, were regularly carried by their owners, approximately half in the owners' cars and the other half on the owners' persons. 

Due to increased firearms sales, especially handguns, from 2004 to 2016 because of federal government leadership and an election and re-election, those ownership numbers have definitely risen, especially in the handguns category. This has been reported by firearms trade organizations and BATF. The fact that there are so many CC classes offered in communities, and resulting in CC licenses applied for, the number of firearms carried in the US has also risen—dramatically.

The CDC  report does note that the manufacture, distribution, sale, acquisition, storage, transportation, carrying, and use of firearms in the United States are regulated by a complex array of federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Then, however, the report takes a fatal jump and examines firearms laws as one of many approaches to reducing firearms violence. But eventually this CDC report does note evidence was insufficient to determine the effectiveness of gun control and other anti-2A laws for the following reasons:


The numerous programs or groups of laws related to firearms and ownership were inconsistent in producing any noted results. These include: Bans on ammunition; restrictions on firearms acquisitions; studies on waiting periods; zero tolerance of firearms in schools (gun free zones); child access laws; shall issue laws; and combinations of firearms laws. All, again, were found inconsistent in doing anything to prevent a death by firearm. 

The report sums the complete CDC study and effort with one telling sentence: “In summary, the Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence.” Like most government funded research, the report indicates more research is needed, um, “that more high-quality research is needed.” This effort has resulted in states calling homes and conducting firearm and health research, like the one recently done in Oregon, and in doctors asking patients questions about firearm ownership and placement in the home. Since doctors, however, are not trained to conduct professional surveys and focus groups, these questions and the resulting reports would be seriously flawed.

One thing missing is the cost to taxpayers of this 2003 CDC report. Funding for this and the other proposed reports became such an issue that it was eventually cut off. Now anti-gun groups are again trying to fund this anti-gun research effort because the first attempt did NOT meet their agenda. In fact, on the other side of the fence, this report revealed bans, gun-free zones, waiting periods and gun laws have accomplished NOTHING.

You can read the full report at:

-- Michael D. Faw