Duke Researcher Shows Cars are 80% Risker Than Guns

Don’t make a silly and controversial memes, like this one.

If you do, it might spur people to dig into your claims, and them show you to be a complete and utter fool:


This argument in turn has stimulated a very cogent rebuttal by Eugene Volokh as well as a Facebook page by Second Amendment advocates arguing that this actually would be a huge improvement over current federal and state gun control laws which now place far more restrictions on gun owners than do parallel laws governing automobile ownership.

There’s no point in rehashing these arguments. There clearly is a critical difference between the regulatory regimes governing guns and autos. Guns tend to be regulated as if they are obviously inherently dangerous and must be carefully controlled (in terms of who is permitted to own them, whether they can be displayed in public, even how they must be stored if children are in the house). In contrast, there seems to be no equivalent presumption about cars whose rules regarding ownership and use seem far less restrictive. That is, virtually anyone (including the mentally ill, past criminals etc.) may own a car and do whatever they want with it on private property. One needs a car license only if driving on public streets.

This puzzles me in light of the available empirical evidence:

  • There were 310 million guns in the U.S. in 2009 (a Congressional Research Service figure I have no reason to dispute), a figure that likely grew to perhaps 350 million by 2013.
  • These guns result in ~33,000 deaths in 2013, of which 64% were suicides, leaving ~500 accidental deaths and 11,200 due to homicides (these are official CDC figures reported in Table 10)
  • There were 269 million registered vehicles in the U.S. in 2013.
  • These result in ~33,000 deaths a year, roughly half of which are drivers (these are official NHTSA statistics).

Conover crunched the numbers, and made a discovery that won’t make the meme-makers very happy.
Conover concludes:

…in light of these eye-opening but indisputable facts, why is gun ownership so vilified by progressives? They could save literally 25 times as many lives by convincing a single typical car owner to drive more responsibly than convincing a single typical gun owner to use their weapon more responsibly. Instead of derisively sneering at those who “cling to guns” out of bitterness, perhaps they ought to ask themselves why guns rather than cars invite their scorn.

Of course, none of this matters to anti-gun Democrats, as they don’t care about facts or logic or lives, for that matter.

What they care about is control, and power over the citizenry. They will always push for gun control, because they believe to their cores that liberty is dangerous.

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