Washington, DC -- Gun deaths outpaced motor vehicle deaths in Oregon in 2011, the most recent year for which comprehensive nationwide data is available, a new analysis from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) finds.
Overall in 2011, gun deaths outpaced motor vehicle deaths in 14 states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington State, as well as the District of Columbia (see below for the mortality figures for each jurisdiction). Data is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and is the most recent available to compare death rates for both products.
This is the third year the VPC has issued its annual report comparing gun deaths to motor vehicle deaths by state. Previous VPC reports found there were more gun deaths than motor vehicle deaths in Oregon both in 2009 and 2010. Gun deaths include gun suicides, homicides, and fatal unintentional shootings; motor vehicle deaths include both occupants and pedestrians.
More than 90 percent of American households own a car while little more than a third of American households have a gun. Americans’ exposure to motor vehicles vastly outweighs their exposure to firearms. Yet in 2011, there were 32,351 gun deaths and 35,543 motor vehicle deaths nationwide. In 1999, there were 28,874 gun deaths and 42,624 motor vehicle deaths nationwide.
Firearms are the only consumer product in America not regulated by the federal government for health and safety. Meanwhile, motor vehicle deaths are on a steady decline, thanks to decades of public health-based injury prevention strategies and proven consumer product safety regulation standards designed to reduce death and injury.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis with an unacceptable toll on human life,” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “To reduce gun death and injury, firearms must be regulated for health and safety just as we regulate motor vehicles and all other consumer products.”
“Effective laws and an educated public helped to reduce the number of deaths from car crashes,” states Penny Okamoto, vice president of board of directors at Ceasefire Oregon. “Oregonians can use those same tools to reduce gun violence in our state. Effective laws like requiring background checks for all gun sales, responsible storage of weapons, waiting periods, and prohibiting high-capacity magazines have all been proven to reduce deaths from gunfire. Even simple devices that reveal a bullet is still in the chamber would save many lives every year. Americans have woken up to the stark realities of gun violence and are beginning to demand responsibility from gun owners and effective laws from our legislators.”
The report includes specific recommendations on how the federal government should regulate firearms to reduce gun death and injury. To read the full report, please visit http://www.vpc.org/studies/gunsvscars14.pdf.
Here are the figures for each of the 14 states and the District of Columbia:
Alaska: 126 gun deaths, 87 motor vehicle deaths
Arizona: 964 gun deaths, 872 motor vehicle deaths
Colorado: 573 gun deaths, 512 motor vehicle deaths
District of Columbia: 86 gun deaths, 39 motor vehicle deaths
Illinois: 1,114 gun deaths, 1,080 motor vehicle deaths
Louisiana: 865 gun deaths, 750 motor vehicle deaths
Maryland: 542 gun deaths, 517 motor vehicle deaths
Michigan: 1,156 gun deaths, 1,016 motor vehicle deaths
Nevada: 376 gun deaths, 281 motor vehicle deaths
Ohio: 1,227 gun deaths, 1,178 motor vehicle deaths
Oregon: 420 gun deaths, 371 motor vehicle deaths
Utah: 308 gun deaths, 277 motor vehicle deaths
Vermont: 78 gun deaths, 62 motor vehicle deaths
Virginia: 868 gun deaths, 816 motor vehicle deaths
Washington: 624 gun deaths, 554 motor vehicle deaths
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