A new report by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) found that in 2011, according to numbers from the Center for Disease Control, there were more deaths caused by guns than motor vehicles in 14 states and the District of Columbia. These disturbing numbers are caused by a drastic decease in motor vehicle deaths and a steady rise in gun violence. The decease in motor vehicle deaths is due largely to the fact that these deaths have been recognized as a public health issue.
Over the past four decades Americans have increasingly viewed motor vehicles as essential, but sometimes-dangerous consumer products. This view has allowed us to require the implementation of numerous safety measures, including seatbelts, airbags, and shatter resistant windshields, which have saved lives. Further, shifts in public perceptions of motor vehicles have lead to the enactment of laws requiring the proper use of motor vehicles and punishing those who fail to operate motor vehicles safely. All of these efforts have contributed to the massive reduction in motor vehicle related deaths.
The VPC report calls for a similar approach to firearms. Treating gun violence as a public heath issue would allow for common sense regulation of firearms in order to reduce gun related deaths in the same way that motor vehicle deaths have been successfully curbed.
See the full report here.