Study: Guns now kill more people than cars

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

When discussing the gun debate with the other side, we typically bring up cars. After all, cars kill more people every year than guns, and we point that out.

However, a recent study now says that, for the first time, that’s simply not true.


It seems that now, fewer people are dying in car accidents than who are losing their lives to gun misuse.

Firearm deaths have overtaken car crashes are the leading cause of death by trauma in the US, according to a new study.

In 2017, there were 1.44 million years of potential life lost due to firearm deaths, edging out that of motor vehicle crashes (1.37 million years), according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open. And that trend continued in 2018.

Those numbers are based on data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2009 and 2018, the most recent year for which data was available.

Researchers used the CDC standard formula to calculate years of potential life lost by subtracting the age of death from the standard age of 80, to represent the average US life expectancy of 78.7 years and then added the differences.

“The main argument is that the right to bear arms to prevent injury or to defend against aggressors may result in a small number of preventable deaths is a plausible theory, however, the data reveal that the resulting access to firearms has equated to magnitudes of death due to firearm suicides in the same individuals demanding access to firearms,” the researchers wrote.


So much wrong here.

First, understand that this is taking all firearm-related deaths and comparing them to all vehicular deaths. That means, as noted in the last quoted paragraph, that researchers are also counting suicides.

It means it’s comparing accidents–while cars have been used for homicides, it’s not overly common–to something that’s willfully misused to take someone else’s life.

Now, about that last paragraph…wow.

First, that’s just downright babbling and someone needs an editor.

Second, it’s also nonsense.

You see, we know from numerous sources that more people use a firearm to defend a life than take one. Even if you count suicides as “taking a life,” which many object to, some of the more conservative estimates put defensive gun uses at around 100,000 to 250,000 per year while “gun deaths” account for around 45,000.

In other words, by the most conservative estimate possible, more than twice as many people save a life with a gun than lose a life.

And there are serious reasons to believe those conservative estimates are artificially low.


Let’s also face the fact that while the researchers are advocating gun restrictions, we can simply look at the UK and realize that gun control doesn’t do what they think.

It should also be noted that while 2017 wasn’t an all-time low for violent crime, it was down from the previous year. That suggests that rather than people becoming more violent with guns, people are just driving more safely.

The automotive industry has increased vehicular safety significantly over the years, and car insurance companies have created ways to encourage safer driving. Those may well be having an effect.

Unfortunately, you won’t get that from this study that focuses on guns rather than improvements in other avenues of life.

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