For a long time now gun enthusiasts and the NRA have been arguing that there is absolutely no need for legislation or regulations on firearms….and one of their favorite ways to prove that guns pose no real significant threat is to point out that the number of automobile deaths far surpasses the number of gun deaths in this country.
Well, guess what?
That is NO LONGER the case.
In 29 states plus the District of Columbia, gun deaths now outnumber automobile deaths.
Now let me start with saying that even aside from these alarming statistics, I’ve always found the “yeah, but ______ cause more deaths than guns, and you’re not trying to ban all of those” arguments so misinformed and naive. The fact of the matter is no one is going to take away or ban all guns in this country. The thing that is being proposed (and inexplicably resisted by gun enthusiasts) is common sense regulations and reform….like mandatory background checks and closing the gun show loophole, for example. So trying to imply that there is some sort of imminent plan to confiscate guns, which would then lead to the banning of things like cars both exemplifies irrational paranoia, and simply makes no sense.
And when people make blanket statements comparing guns to other things that kill…like knives, swimming pools, and cars….they are completely ignoring some basic facts. One of the major ones being that unlike all of the other things that can cause death, guns are the only things whose sole purpose is to kill.
OK, now let’s just talk a little about this car analogy. Over the past 20 years, while gun deaths have been consistently rising, the number of deaths caused by cars has actually been steadily declining. In 2003 there were only 2 states (plus the District of Columbia) who reported more gun fatalities than lives lost due to cars. But by 2013 the number of states reporting that same alarming shift jumped all the way to 30.
So why the big change in these stats? There is one major answer….Common Sense Regulations.
You see, while the gun industry has completely fought against any kind of legislation or restrictions on firearms, the automobile industry has consistently been working to make cars safer. Over the past two decades we have established many injury-prevention standards on cars and the way we drive. Just a few of those include air bags, mandatory seat belts, child seats, head rests, shatter-resistant windshields, and energy absorbing steering wheels. We have also implemented things like better road lighting, guard rails, graduated licensing laws, and stricter enforcement and laws against drunk driving.
There is no denying that these type of automobile safety regulations are proving to be a public health success story. Yet for some reason we continue to allow domestic firearms to remain the last consumer product made in the U.S. with virtually no safety regulations. It simply makes no sense that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), who is responsible for enforcing the very few gun laws that we do have, actually has none of the safety regulatory powers given to other federal agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And it makes no sense that anyone in this country, gun enthusiast or not, should be against common sense regulations that will surely save lives.
So with the results being that over half of the states in this country are now reporting that gun deaths have surpassed car deaths, I’m just really wondering how much more it’s going to take before we finally come together and admit that we have a serious problem here?