Gun deaths starting to outpace automobile fatalities in some states

06/06/2013 11:06 AM

06/08/2013 6:16 PM

Gun advocates love to point out that automobile crashes in this country kill more people than firearms do. Then they ask why not push for more controls on cars just as sensible people want restrictions on guns (they leave out the sensible part)?

A new study now shows that at least in 12 states and the District of Columbia, gun deaths outdistanced auto fatalities in 2010. The Violence Policy Center, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that improved safety standards on vehicles and on the roads have brought down traffic fatalities in the last decade.

The center reports that nationally there were 31,672 firearm deaths, including homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings compared with 35,498 motor vehicle fatalities in 2010. But gun deaths that year outpaced automobile fatalities in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Without better gun control and safety measures, the number of states with gun deaths exceeding auto fatalities is sure to grow, taking away one of gun advocates’ best arguments.

The Violence Policy Center wants to help. Its recommendations include:

• Minimum safety standards for firearms such as specific design standards and the requirement of safety devices.

• Prohibit certain types of guns that have no sporting purpose, including military-style assault weapons.

• Limit the firepower of firearms available to the general public, including restricting the magazine capacity.

• Prohibit possession of firearms among those known to present a higher risk of misuse such as those convicted of a violent misdemeanor.

Chances are the National Rifle Association won’t call seeking a detailed report.

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