Society

Study Reveals Illinois, 11 Other States Have More Gun Deaths than Vehicle Deaths

| by Dabney Bailey
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The Violence Policy Center, a pro-gun control group, has released a study revealing that Illinois and 11 other states had more gun-related deaths than motor vehicle-related deaths in 2010.

In the statistics below, the first number represents the number of firearm deaths and the second number indicates motor vehicle deaths.

Alaska: 144 – 71
Arizona: 931 – 795
Colorado: 555 – 487
District of Columbia: 99 – 38
Illinois: 1,064 – 1,042
Louisiana: 864 – 722
Maryland: 538 – 514
Michigan: 1,076 – 1,063
Nevada: 395 – 289
Oregon: 458 – 324
Utah: 314 – 274
Virginia: 875 – 728
Washington: 609 – 554

It’s hard to spot a pattern in these numbers. States like Louisiana have strong pro-gun policies, which suggests that easier access to guns simply increases the amount of gun violence in the area.  Conversely, Illinois and the District of Columbia are well known for their strict gun control laws. That might indicate that gun control makes it easier for criminals to promote violence.

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The Violence Policy Center argued that motor vehicle deaths should far outweigh gun-related deaths because 90 percent of American households own a vehicle while only 30 percent of Americans households have access to guns.

While it is certainly true that gun deaths should ideally be low, this argument is a bit misguided because the whole point of a firearm is to inflict harm. Motor vehicles generally only cause deaths during accidents, while guns cause deaths when they’re used correctly. Gun deaths should therefore be disproportionately high when compared to motor vehicle deaths.

Another weakness of the study is that it does not offer any insight into how guns were used to kill people – whether it was an accident involving a gun, an act of criminal violence, or an act of legitimate self-defense. The reason why some of these states have high gun-related deaths could be because citizens have used guns to defend themselves, or because police officers were forced to fatally shoot gun-wielding criminals. 

What's your take on the study? Do you think these numbers prove the importance of stronger gun control laws, or do they show that gun rights works?

Source: My Stateline