For the first time in American history, gun deaths are set to exceed vehicle-related deaths by 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Bloomberg News. Vehicle deaths, according to the CDC data, have been declining over the past years due to harsher policies for dangerous or drunk driving and more people wearing seatbelts.
According to the CDC, auto-related deaths will decline to 32,000 in 2015 whereas gun deaths are set to increase to 33,000 per year. In addition, firearm-related deaths are staggeringly higher in the United States than they are in the other western countries.
For example, last year 32,000 people died from firearms in the United States and 11,000 of which were homicides — a rate 30 times than that of France or Australia, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. Overall, gun homicides in the United States are 12 times higher than the average of other westernized countries.
Harsher policies for guns will likely also result in fewer gun deaths, despite what NRA lobbyists might suggest. Australia, for example, saw huge success following their 1996 enactment of a ban on all automatic and semiautomatic weapons as the firearm homicide death rate dropped 59 percent over the next ten years, according to the Washington Post. Suicides by firearms also declined by 65 percent.
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Most firearm deaths in the United States are suicides — about 20,000 per year according to the Washington Post — because death by gun is much easier than any other method. Just as harsher policies on drunk driving have decreased auto-related deaths, so too will stricter access to guns result in a decrease of firearm deaths.