Some food for thought.



I don’t mean this to necessarily have a point of view, I just thought the numbers were interesting.

  • 200 million privately owned guns in the US (FBI estimate, and the fact that they have to estimate is kind of an issue)
  • over the last 10 years, there were roughly 9,500 gun homicides and 16,000 gun suicides per year
  • 250 million passenger vehicles in the US (Dept, of Transportation estimate)
  • over the last 10 years, there were roughly 35,000 automobile-related deaths per year

I think it’s disingenuous and a little misleading to put these statistics next to each other as if they’re comparable. They’re not, and the main reason they aren’t is that cars have a purpose other than killing, and that purpose is necessary for the functioning of our society. Guns have one purpose, and it’s killing things. Their existence is not necessary for society to function - in fact, in many ways, it’s detrimental to the smooth functioning of society. So, that’s a lot of completely unnecessary deaths at the hand of a pure weapon that serves no other useful purpose. Not really the same thing as a car.

I find it interesting that people keep pointing out that guns are only good for killing things.  Saying that they serve no useful purpose in society is imposing a worldview in which nobody shoots animals for food.  It also, once again, equates murdering humans with hunting animals.

Also, less seriously, if we’re including animals under the umbrella of “things guns kill” can we include roadkill in the cars column?

I agree that cars serve a purpose, but they also serve a purpose that is not universal.  Many people live quite happily without driving.  What happens when a hard-core “save the planet” bicyclist gets hit by a car?  They have to share the road with something that they disagree with and don’t see the use for, and they are at a huge disadvantage in a confrontation, accidental or otherwise.

Cars “serving a purpose” isn’t a justification for killing 26,000 more people a year than guns*.  And it doesn’t doesn’t let people off the hook for shooting people either. To me, it’s simply an element of the conversation.

*I’m leaving out suicides, because there’s no way of knowing how many of those people would have killed themselves had they not had a gun.  Even if we say that half of them would have, car deaths still double that figure.