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In January of this year, More Guns, Less Crime author John Lott [not shown] notified the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that they’d made a mistake. The CDC had reported that there’d been 105 accidental firearms-related deaths in Tennessee during the year 2014. The actual number? Five. That was down from 2013’s total of 19 accidental firearms-related deaths.

In September, safetennesseeproject.org put out a news release based the erroneous CDC numbers, calling for harsh new infringments on residents’ Second Amendment rights. Members of the mainstream media took the artificially inflated ball and ran with it.

From memphisdailynews.com:

In a news release, The Safe Tennessee Project, a grassroots gun-violence prevention organization, said that 105 people died in the state from accidental gunshots in 2014, media outlet reported.

The year before that, there were 19 such deaths in Tennessee, and the state had ranked ninth in accidental shootings.

“We’ve actually been aware of the new numbers for several months, but the increase was so dramatic that we wanted to confirm the numbers before reporting them,” said Beth Joslin Roth, Policy Director for The Safe Tennessee Project.

According to Roth, the group first asked the CDC and state health officials to check the numbers for accuracy. Those figures were then verified.

Wrong. While the CDC has not yet corrected the incorrect data, they fully and publicly admit the error. From CDC:

Note Regarding Unintentional Firearm Deaths in 2014

There was a coding error in the 2014 file that increases the number of unintentional firearm deaths (W32-W34: Accidental discharge of firearms) substantially in some states. The error was not technically isolated to any particular state, but because of the nature of the error, data from some states (TN, NC) were affected more than others in 2014. Results for 2014 unintentional firearm deaths should be interpreted with caution.

An error of that size is enormous in this data set. It represents 20 percent of all the fatal firearms accidents in the United States. The corrected number for 2014 is 486, not 586, for the entire nation. That would make 2014 the lowest number of fatal firearms accidents in a year on record.

Confronted with the bad data, the gun control group eventually removed the press release from their page, without any correction. While I don’t expect safetennesseeproject.org to publicly address the fact that accidental firearms deaths have actually decreased while gun sales have increased, I look forward to the corrected data being published by the CDC.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Gun Watch

30 Responses to Kimber Gun Rights Bulletin: Centers for Disease Control Fails to Correct Botched Accidental Firearms-Related Death Data

  1. “Results for 2014 unintentional firearm deaths should be interpreted with caution.”
    In other words, “if you believe our bullshit, then bad on you.”
    When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.~Maya Angelou.

    • Don’t quote that plagerist thief: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was a direct theft from the poem of a poet long deceased: Paul Dunbar Lawrence (1872-1906).

      Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
                                  Sympathy
          I KNOW what the caged bird feels, alas!
              When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
          When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
          And the river flows like a stream of glass;
              When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
          And the faint perfume from its chalice steals —
          I know what the caged bird feels!
          I know why the caged bird beats his wing
              Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
          For he must fly back to his perch and cling
          When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
              And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
          And they pulse again with a keener sting —
          I know why he beats his wing!
          I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
              When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
          When he beats his bars and he would be free;
          It is not a carol of joy or glee,
              But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
          But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —
          I know why the caged bird sings!

  2. “I look forward to the corrected data being published by the CDC”

    At the very soonest, that won’t happen until after the election.

  3. Not the same CDC that is being accused of “burying” data linking vaccines to autism by at least one former CDC senior researcher?

    • Ain’t a damn thing being suppressed about the fiction created by Wakefield while he was trying to market his OWN version of the MMR vaccinations. Hundreds upon hundreds of subsequent studies (using real science methods) have thoroughly debunked his never-validated never-duplicated anecdotal “paper”. Please do not attempt to bring Antivaxxer nonsense into a Gun rights discussuon.

      • Who mentioned Wakefield? Are you denying a senior CDC researcher is accusing the CDC of destroying data linking vaccines to autism? Let me guess, your next response will for some reason involve Jenny McCarthy?

        • Nah I’m with him. Take that shit show and take a hike. Go start “the Truth About Vaccines” and enjoy the popularity it’s sure to bring…

        • Whatever. My point was don’t hold your breath expecting honesty and integrity from the CDC. You have the right to remain ignorant, enjoy it.

        • My point is STFU unless it pertains in some way to the subject under discussion. Tired of your nonsense. And the broken record as well.

        • @Larry, Sorry you don’t understand the relevance of a CDC fraud comment in an article discussing potential CDC fraud. BTW, I don’t give a shit what nonsense you’re tired of. Lay off the internet if other people’s posts bother you that much.

  4. Results for 2014 unintentional firearm deaths should be interpreted with caution as utter bullsh!t.

    Fixed.

    • Not really. The phrase is a researcher’s way of saying that his results got screwed up and he isn’t bothering to take the trouble to tell you which if his particular results are accurate and which are not — in this case, which of the various state number are correct and which are false.

      So, it could be taken as “some of the numbers are BS, but most aren’t, and I can’t be bothered to figure out which is which just now”.

      Which leads me to wonder if they even know what “coding error” could screw up some states and not others — especially since I’ve done some computer programming and I’m having trouble picturing an error that would do that, so they may be covering for human error (wrong input is a “coding error”, right?) in which case they’re avoiding saying “Someone screwed up”.

      • If your code is reading a table and incrementing various counters conditionally based on the value of one or more descriptive (non-numeric) values, and different states set the value of those flags differently and you don’t know that, then you could easily come up with results that look OK for most states but are totally screwed for the non-compliant ones. (Retired data wrangler here – 45 years experience)

  5. 600 accidental deaths?
    15,000 homicides with a gun?
    In a nation of 90 MILLION??!?!’ish’ gun owners?

    Anti gunners are intellectually lazy. Why not pour all that money and man hours into solving real problems?

    Like Diseases. and War. and the Clintons.

    • You protest to much. Absorb (chew) government data as instructed and we will get along just fine, while deconstructing your rights.

    • You still believe we have a government of, by, and for The People?
      We have a government of the elites designed to control and profit from The People.
      Oh Misguided Grasshopper, the media and the DNC will tell you your opinion and then fabricate and filter facts to support it.

  6. Government is smarter than given credit for. CDC is not updating the data because they get to have things both ways. Anyone looking for data on CDC websites download the data sets, not the blah, blah narrative stuff posted in some obscure corner of the home page. CDC gets kudos for admitting and apologizing for the error, while continuing to skew data so other entities can “prove” the case CDC wants proven.

    • As a retired bureucrat, the CDC is caught between a rock and a hard place. They know if they correct the data, the Obama administration will intensely dislike it. There might be consequences for top bureaucrats, like having their annual bonus cut by 50%.

      On the other hand, their credibility is on the line. It is an obvious error.

      So they made a classic bureaucratic decision. Put out a notice of error that does little, but cover their butts. Wait until after the election to see which way the wind blows, or make the correction in the interregnum, when no one may notice.

      • The “cover your asyoulikeit” is a classic move, but I, a former insider, do not believe the CDC (or any govt group) is merely incompetent. There is malice aforethought. Why else would there be such political clamor for CDC to be “the” official, last word, for “gun violence research”? CDC is just as malignant as the FBI, and you name it. The government, and its employees are all, all about controlling individual behaviors.

        • What else should we expect from an administration that dissembles as much as its people breathe?
          Does anyone really, deep down, believe Director Comey wasn’t threatened with career suicide if he indicted Clinton?
          Does anyone really believe Wikileaks, heralded by the Left as a true grassroots media outlet for exposing NSA surveillance of Americans, suddenly became a tool of Russia when they turned their focus on a Democrat presidential candidate?
          We’ll find out in a few weeks if democracy is the “tyranny of the majority” that James Madison, a Founding Father, warned about. Yes, I know it is a democratic republic we have here, but the difference is subtle (maybe inconsequential) once you bring in the electoral college now isn’t it?

      • Very well, but the CDC is – in the long run – more interested in maintaining their credibility then they are in the reaction of the lame-duck president.
        We, the PotG, through our organizations (principally, the NRA) need to hold the CDC’s feet to the fire. Our few “friends” in Congress ought to be able to write letters to the CDC demanding an explanation, correction or both. Eventually, the pressure ought to be enough to compel CDC to publish the correction. Better late than never.
        This single error is NOT important by itself. What IS important is that CDC, the FBI et al. must be made to recognize that their fudging official numbers will be made too costly a practice for them to carry on. Our risk is that we ignore such cases and the Federal agencies learn that they can just make-s**t-up without consequences.
        Ultimately, I think, we need changes in the law that compel Federal agencies to disclose dis-aggregated data. Once the agencies have to provide the raw data instance-by-instance it will become much harder for them to bury errors or fabrications in aggregates. Too many discrepancies will emerge between news reports vs. the details. (E.g., too many reports of accidents or homicides in X County that can’t be cross-tabulated with newspaper reports for that county.) Moreover, then we will have more detail that lends itself to contextual analysis. E.g., how many accidents occur in inner-city neighborhoods where the adults have been deprived of proper gun-safety practices?

        • “Very well, but the CDC is – in the long run – more interested in maintaining their credibility….”

          No, they are not. Any more than NASA and NOAA are interested in their credibility concerning “man-caused climate change”. CDC has a political agenda. It is continuing belief that government agencies, of any type, are stated mission-oriented is the sort of thinking that keeps the control-types in power. Notice I did not exclude the military; been there, done that, saw it all first-hand.

  7. It seems that two clear signs that you are living in a banana republic would be: (1) Official data are deliberately manipulated for political purposes and (2) When errors are pointed out, they are slow to be corrected.

    • The goal of the Democrats in control, though few of the voters realize it just yet, is to model the US after Venezuela and Greece. And we know how they’ve turned out.

    • The same two problems occurred in two entities which were definitely not banana republics, the Byzantine Empire and the British Empire. In both cases there were people who lamented that the bureaucracy was prone to making reports that pleased those higher up and taking forever to correct those reports.

      What those entities have in common with a banana republic is simple: an authoritarian hierarchy running things. The economic status isn’t relevant, merely the human urge to curry favor with those who have power over their lives. So they are symptoms not of a banana republic, but of a power structure with little accountability to those they govern. A banana republic is just a member of that set.

  8. “I look forward to the corrected data being published by the CDC.”

    And I look forward to my ex-wives repaying me all that alimony money.

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