The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reportedly removed statistics on defensive gun use in the U.S. following pressure from gun control advocates.

The stats sourced from a CDC-commissioned study finding that instances of defensive gun use occur between 60,000 and 2.5 million times per year. References to that study were deleted from the site following private meetings with gun control advocates in 2021, emails obtained and published by The Reload show.

‘[T]hat 2.5 Million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again,’ Mark Bryant, executive director of the Gun Violence Archive, wrote to the CDC in one of the emails. ‘It is highly misleading, is used out of context and I honestly believe it has zero value — even as an outlier point in honest DGU discussions.’

‘And while that very small study by Gary Kleck has been debunked repeatedly by everyone from all sides of this issue [even Kleck] it still remains canon by gun rights folks and their supporting politicians and is used as a blunt instrument against gun safety regulations every time there is a state or federal level hearing,’ Bryant’s email continued. ‘Put simply, in the time that study has been published as ‘a CDC Study’ gun violence prevention policy has ground to a halt, in no small part because of the misinformation that small study provided.’

Bryant was among several gun control advocates to meet virtually with CDC officials regarding the data. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., reportedly facilitated the meeting through his office.

The emails show that CDC officials initially resisted removing the reference. Dr. Deb Houry, the CDC’s acting principal deputy director, argued that Bryant’s GVA inspected only ‘a very small subset of people who have used guns defensively,’ adding that it ‘does not include individuals who might have used guns defensively, but not reported this use to law enforcement.’

Houry explained that a situation in which a person brandished a firearm to prevent a conflict would not register under Bryant’s metrics unless the person reported it to police.

Nevertheless, the CDC later acquiesced to Bryant following an online meeting with him and others on Sept. 15, 2021, The Reload reported.

‘We are planning to update the fact sheet in early 2022 after the release of some new data,’ Beth Reimels, Associate Director for Policy, Partnerships, and Strategic Communication at the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, wrote in a subsequent email. ‘We will also make some edits to the content we discussed that I think will address the concerns you and other partners have raised.’

The CDC reportedly did not consult the study’s author, Florida State University emeritus professor Gary Kleck, prior to removing his study.

‘CDC is just aligning itself with the gun-control advocacy groups,’ Kleck told the outlet. ‘It’s just saying: ‘We are their tool, and we will do their bidding.’ And that’s not what a government agency should do.’

The CDC did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

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