Questioning the reliability of gun injury data

Recent data on nonfatal gun injuries from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may not be trustworthy, according to experts and even the CDC itself.

The CDC’s most recent data suggest that between 31,000 and 236,000 people were injured by guns in 2017—a range that is roughly four times wider than the range the agency gave in 2001, according to a March 11, 2019 article in FiveThirtyEight. The CDC website flags its figures as “unstable and potentially unreliable.”

“When I looked at the 2017 numbers, I went, ‘Oh, my god,’” said David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “You just can’t use those numbers.”

Hemenway was also recently quoted in Vox about a new study, which he was not involved with, that found that there are more mass shootings in states with weaker gun laws. Hemenway called the new research “an important study—another piece of evidence about the serious public health and safety problems caused by gun proliferation.”

Read the FiveThirtyEight article: The CDC’s Gun Injury Data Is Becoming Even Less Reliable

Read the Vox article: Study: where gun laws are weaker, there are more mass shootings

Learn more

U.S. gun deaths disproportionately high (Harvard Chan School news)

Gun violence research funding blocked (Harvard Chan School news)