The 17 states where guns kill more people than cars do


This ought to be interesting …


Are firearm deaths rising per capita? I always thought the homicide rate in the US was going down (scaremongering media notwithstanding).

So either: A rise in non-criminal firearm deaths (almost all suicides, with the odd accident or justifiable homicide) has made up for the fall in criminal ones.

Or: The non-gun homicide rate is going down faster than the gun homicide rate is going up

Or (most likely) Firearm deaths per capita are falling, just less slowly than motor vehicle deaths.


The firearm homicide rate is down by almost 50% since 1993 (as of 2013).


Since 2000 gun homicides have been gradually decreasing but the suicide rate has been climbing. Guns are used for about 50% of suicides.

Would it be surprising if, as more guns are sold and laws are loosened, the accident rate went up? My only beef with the chart is it lists absolute numbers of deaths, which are meaningless. Per-capita is information is more like apples-to-apples. Pennsylvania is not twenty times more dangerous than DC.

Based on nothing but anecdote, I would expect accidents to be muich more common than suicide, but you seem tio think the opposite. Anybody have reliable numbers handy?

Also, not all handgun deaths are homicide. Obviously.

1 Like

Yeah, the relative heights of each state’s set of two bars is not very meaningful, only the relative heights of the two bars for each state.

Personally I was expecting that list to be way more… Southern. I wonder to what extent it’s related to how rural a state’s population is, and hence how many miles a year the average person travels by car.

So now BoingBoing is just quoting Violence Policy Center press releases verbatim? To what end?

There is no way to twist the statistics which makes the claim “(US) Firearm deaths continue to rise.” true. Raw number of firearms deaths (homicides, suicides, accidents, total) continues to decline, as does the rate per 100,000 Americans.

If anything, the hidden positive news in this story is that the rate of automobile deaths is also declining, at an even faster rate. But that’s not good enough for Violence Policy Center, they have an agenda to promote.


[quote=“ACE, post:8, topic:55264”]There is no way to twist the statistics which makes the claim “(US) Firearm deaths continue to rise.” true. Raw number of firearms deaths (homicides, suicides, accidents, total) continues to decline, as does the rate per 100,000 Americans.

I’m a little confused. Are you indicating the charts in the report are not correct? I won’t argue anything about the rate but the absolute numbers going down statement is contrary to the chart on page 2 of the linked report. That chart shows absolute/raw numbers firearm deaths as rising from about 29k 15 years ago to about 34k now. Some years may be down and others flat, but the general trend is upward according to the chart. If this group is falsifying statistics, then they should be called out for it; but if you’re lying to promote your agenda, then you need to be called out for it too.

Edit to add, all I found was this document, which matches the trend illustrated in the report. It also shows that the rate is essentially flat over the years provided.


I’ve had very little luck finding actual statistical date more recent than 2011-2012.

I agree, what little data I can find (mostly for homicides) shows pretty much a flat rate of firearms deaths, and a declining rate of automobile deaths.

At least it pre-empts the stupid argument of “But cars kill more people!”

Apparently, because of inconsistencies in how death by gun is ruled, the numbers aren’t particularly reliable. However, there are pretty clearly more gun suicides than accidents by a very wide margin, so unreliable data doesn’t have much of an impact in general. For sub-groups such as children, it’s a different matter, and the actual accidental death rate is probably twice the official statistic (given that many are considered homicides). Of course, because of the dynamics of suicide, one is far more likely to commit suicide if one owns a gun.

Peesonally, I look forward to the day when both these numbers reach near-zero numbers due to strict gun bans and near-universal adoption of self-driving vehicles.

Well a more fair comparison is how many people died in gun ACCIDENTS vs car ACCIDENTS.

IIRC ~800 per year die in gun ACCIDENTS. So just like car ACCIDENTS we can work on proper training and education on how to properly handle fire arms.

Assuming the numbers mirror the national average, over half those deaths are suicides. Gun laws aren’t going to stop suicides.

The rest are gun crimes - which are already illegal. But in order to best combat them we need to find the root cause of the violence (prohibition being the biggest) and root it out.

1 Like

I never would have guessed - thanks!

You should read more of my posts. I’ve put up numbers like that many times in the past.

In the US there are ~41,000 suicides a year. About half of them (~21,000) use firearms.

So of the ~33,000 gun deaths a year, you have about 800 per year that are accident, and the rest (~11,000 - 12,000) attributed to gun violence.

That’s not true, though. The nature of the dynamics of suicide mean that people who own guns are more likely to kill themselves. That is, without easy access to a gun, they’re less likely to commit suicide by any means, so if gun laws prevent easy access, you’ll absolutely stop some suicides.


Although I’m not sure it makes much of a point - either one is horrible, and preventable. In related news, I recently ran across the idea that a lot of car crashes are actually suicide - but it’s impossible to do statistics.

Define “Easy access”? If you mean a total ban - then yes that might stop some. Of course Japan has no guns and a high suicide rate. YMMV. If you mean more waiting periods or checks, then probably not.

At any rate, I don’t see the logic in further restricting millions of people in the hopes of trying to stop rational, purposeful action such a suicide. How many of these people already had a gun for years before they used it on themselves? How are you going to prevent a suicide 10 years down the road? It is a fools errand.

Unless it is into a tree, that is horrible because you are hurting someone else with you.

You don’t need a total ban - restrictions on handgun ownership alone could prevent 80% of gun suicides (which are the majority of suicides in the US). For example. Japan’s suicide rate is irrelevant - studies have shown that removing a means of suicide from a culture reduces the entire suicide rate by about that amount, and not just temporarily.

Well that’s begging the question.

1 Like