In shocking new statistics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns and cars now kill individuals at the same rate—they both cause 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
The convergence of the two numbers is not for the reason you may think. Gun homicides actually dropped, but gun suicides rose, keeping the gun death rate approximately steady over the past decade. The real difference can be attributed to the massive decrease in car crash deaths, which has dropped from a high of 15.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2002 to 10.3 today.
It’s easy to understand why. The government has been persistent, churning out law after law, both on a federal and state level, imposing restrictions on the ways we operate vehicles. In the past decade, we’ve witnessed an increased emphasis on preventing drunk driving, allocating more resources to educating people as well as implementing harsher penalties for those who are caught driving under the influence. Seat belt safety laws have increased, and we have passed laws prohibiting talking on cell phones while driving; the government is legitimately concerned about car safety and has taken real steps to decrease the likelihood of fatal accidents. And the data proves it has worked.
Gun safety laws, on the other hand? There has been virtually no change. Sure, certain states took measures to enact regulations following mass shootings (Connecticut has been a leader in this realm), but on a federal level, we’ve seen little improvement. And unlike the attitude toward cars, the public remains hostile to even the possibility of any new laws that could ostensibly help decrease gun violence. Even common sense measures, such as more thorough background checks, are met with opposition and claims such as the “government is infringing on our freedoms!”
When the government takes a strong stance on an issue, it sees results. The decrease in car crash deaths is not arbitrary—there has been an active, calculated attempt to change the way people drive their cars. If only we could do the same with guns.
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