Debate Magazine

Why Guns Will Soon Top Cars on List of Killers

Posted on the 24 October 2013 by Mikeb302000
Guns currently kill about 30,000 Americans annually -- almost as many as cars. Photograph by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Bloomberg
The results of the safety revolution [for cars] can be measured in mortality rates. In 1958, there were 35,331 motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. After a half century of improvements in auto and road safety, that number declined to 32,367 in 2011 even as the population increased by three-fourths. Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles in 1958 were 5.32; by 2011, they had plummeted to 1.1. "Aspirational" brands such as Volvo, Mercedes and BMW now market cars based on their safety ratings. The gun industry, aided by an ideology-infused gun culture, has resisted even attempting similar gains. Guns currently kill about 30,000 Americans annually -- almost as many as cars -- and injure another 70,000. It's unclear if gun-safety measures could achieve similarly dramatic results as auto-safety initiatives, or with similarly minimal inconvenience. But certainly they could achieve much -- if they were tried. Laws designed to keep guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, drug addicts and others have been thwarted, along with efforts to keep guns away from children. Technological fixes -- such as smart guns using fingerprint scanners -- get little encouragement from the NRA and its backers.

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