Good News, Americans! Cars Are Now Killing as Few People as Guns!

The numbers don't justify the outrage and fear.


Take a look at this graph below. It's an illustration of something wonderful, something to be happy about. It shows a massive decline in both vehicle-related deaths (since then 1970s) and gun deaths (since the 1990s). This chart was blogged at The Washington Post yesterday:

Washington Post

Regardless as to what factors one might attribute these drops, both the trends shown on the graph are positive developments. Now, here's the headline The Washington Post decided was appropriate for the graphic:

"Guns are now killing as many people as cars in the U.S."

I cannot imagine why people's trust in the media is so low. Christopher Ingraham, in writing the piece that goes along with graph, is at least not oblivious to what the numbers actually mean, despite the deliberately misleading headline:

The convergence of the trend lines above is driven primarily by a sharp drop in the rate of motor vehicle fatalities since 1950. In the late 1960s, for instance, there were well over 25 motor vehicle deaths for every 100,000 people in the United States. Since then, that rate has fallen by more than half.

Over the same period, gun deaths rose, but by a considerably smaller amount. Gun homicide rates have actually fallen in recent years, but those gains have been offset by rising gun suicide rates. Today, suicides account for roughly two out of every three gun deaths.

Two out of every three gun death is actually a suicide. So actually, if that "gun violence" line only counted violence against others, it would plunge down as well. And then the two lines wouldn't even be converging. So the whole chart itself is a bit questionable.

But despite what the numbers actually mean, the gun control obsession is whatever Democrats decide this time counts as an "assault weapon."

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  1. Gun homicide rates have actually fallen in recent years, but those gains have been offset by rising gun suicide rates.

    Do you even check your premises, bro?

    1. I read that article in the WaPo yesterday and just laughed. If I wasn’t convinced of the animist view of guns theory often expressed here, I believe original credit to Episiarch, I would be after this.

      1. You don’t have to credit that anarchopunk, Brett. You know that.

        1. This is why you’re the worst. I try to live up to my standards, not down to his.

        2. Well he did first hear about it from Epi’s mom.

          1. That’s where everybody hears about it,

            1. 2 degrees of seperation

    2. Many of the the gun-control advocates’ favorite “socialist” “developed nations” with far fewer guns have higher overall suicide rates, including Iceland, Finland Japan, South Korea, Poland, and France. Including gun suicides in the gun control debate is misleading and dishonest.

      1. B-b-but gas stoves and suicides in England! That *proves* that suicide is a function of method and not the other way around.

        1. I’ve seen the gas stove/England thing making the rounds.

          After a long time planned mass shooting is about the only time gun control supporters actually pretend to care about gun owners or suicide.

          California does indeed have a low overall firearm death rate, but that’s only because they have a very low firearm suicide rate to balance out their high firearm homicide rate. Gun control supporters are outright monstrous in their preference for higher homicide rates as long as suicide rates are low.

      2. You are comparing apples and oranges. Japan has higher suicide rates for much different reasons. Furthermore, the numbers we are looking at here are gun INDUCED suicide rates, not overall suicide rates. Now, this clearly isn’t a causal explanation per se, but a decent hypothesis as to why may be the increase in availability of firearms, since most suicides do not occur in a premeditated fashion. Spur of the moment decisions don’t allow a person second chances when it comes to a firearm.

        Now, that all said, I am not for drastic gun control measures. Really, perhaps mandatory gun safety training courses would be better for licensure. I know that libertarians tend to throw any suggestions out the window when it comes to gun control, but irresponsible gun handling reflects badly on all gun owners (I myself am one).

        1. mandatory gun safety training courses would be better for licensure

          Seriously? Fuck off.

          Just some sensible gun-control measures, hmmm?

          You don’t even understand the argument being made.

          And what the fuck do you even mean about ‘INDUCED’? “The gun forced its way out of the officer’s holster and shot the suspect 11 times before reloading and shooting him again!”


          Spur of the moment decisions don’t allow a person second chances when it comes to a firearm

          1. ‘jumping off a building’ got cut off from my last line.

            1. Agreed. First of all ajkelly451’s assumption that suicides aren’t contemplated is flat out wrong. Many (but not all) suicidal persons work their way up to their actual suicide via “cry for help” behaviors like self-harm, staged suicide events, etc. Their families and friends usually get plenty of advance notice. Problem is, those friends and family usually don’t give a shit, a big reason why the person is contemplating suicide in the first place.

              Of course, we occasionally hear about the loving families/friends who are surprised by a person’s suicide because that person kept it so well-hidden. But that is not as common as one might think. It merely appears that way because, like mass shootings, they get more media attention than the “everyone saw it coming” suicides that NEVER make the news.

              Second, aside from jumping off buildings, there are a lot of ways to commit suicide that are as instantaneous and irreversible as shooting oneself. We have seen news reports of: people jumping off subway platforms in front of trains, people intentionally driving off of bridges into water (there was a recent murder-suicide where the father drove his entire family into the water in a minivan), people walking into high speed traffic, etc.

              1. Shall we force people to take mandatory training courses for how to queue properly in the subway station? Or mandatory training courses for how not to drive off a bridge with your family in the back of the minivan? Hell, we already teach kids how to properly cross the street, but it doesn’t stop people from committing suicide that way…

                Third and most important, WHO enforces this mandatory gun safety training and HOW will they enforce it without putting gun owners’ names on a list? No list means someone can skip the training and get away with it. But having a list means that the enforcers can target those people in the future.

                We have already seen bits and pieces of the ATF ILLEGALLY assembling and keeping a nationwide gun registry by scanning 4473 forms during ATF audits of gun stores:


                California already has its list of mandatory gun safety tests via the Handgun Safety Certificate licensing scheme, but it doesn’t do a damn bit of good at actually reducing crime or gun suicides. I wonder what that list is really for….

        2. The reason I brought up the gas stove episode in the UK is that it’s used by gun control advocates (who are, in my opinion, merely concern trolling on behalf of suicidees) as an example of taking steps to deter suicides of the sort you describe. And the rate of suicide did indeed fall after the switch from CO-emitting coal gas to natural gas.

          The difference here is that gun control advocates are not content with merely addressing the problem of suicidal gunowners, but using the issue as a stalking horse for implementing restrictions on all gunowners. Certainly, mandating gun safety training would not satiate their hunger for control. The gas changeover didn’t prevent non-suicidal Brits from owning stoves; no similar precaution exists for preventing suicide by firearm. I agree with you about irresponsible ownership, but I’m not willing to take these people at their word that they’re merely concerned about suicidality.

          1. This is sort of the “automotive safety belts save lives” argument, which is a provably true argument. Yes, mandating the inclusion of safety belts in cars AND mandating the wearing of seat belts did result in a drop in vehicle injuries and deaths.

            But as you noted, the gun control advocates have appropriated this argument for far more sinister purposes. And the Constitution says I can have all the lethal arms I want, implicitly because they are lethal.

            Still, this suicide argument raises a question: why should the gov’t mandate something for individuals, even if it is in the individuals’ best interests? Actually, there are two questions here. “Best interests” is a matter of opinion–the second question is, who gets to decide what “best interests” means in considering a mandate?

            Take for instance a terminally ill individual considering assisted suicide. That person’s life may truly be so bad that killing themselves is in their best interest. Yet, the gov’t overrides that with a differing view of best interest and then shoves it down that person’s throat. There is no difference between using a lethal injection or a gun–the real question is whether a gov’t is allowed to override an individual’s sovereignty.

            1. Actually, seat belts may not save lives. I think they do, but it is much more marginal than you would think, as people drive faster to compensate.

              People have an acceptable risk level, and drive at that risk level.

        3. Now, that all said, I am not for drastic censorship. Really, perhaps mandatory journalism classes would be better for licensure. I know that Americans tend to throw any suggestions out the window when it comes to censorship, but irresponsible journalism reflects badly on all members of the approved press (I myself am one).

          Go fuck yourself in a rusty woodchipper, you bootlicking statist shitbag.

        4. So now the reasons for suicide matter? At least you admit that it’s not guns.

          1. The guns INDUCED people to commit suicide.

            That’s really homicide by gun manufacturer.

            This is why we need sensible controls!


        5. You are comparing apples and oranges. Japan has higher suicide rates for much different reasons.

          And the US has higher homicide rates for reasons entirely unrelated to guns.

          Furthermore, the numbers we are looking at here are gun INDUCED suicide rates, not overall suicide rates.

          Guns don’t “induce” suicide. They are a means of suicide. And how I decide to exit this world is none of your or the government’s business.

          I know that libertarians tend to throw any suggestions out the window when it comes to gun control, but irresponsible gun handling reflects badly on all gun owners

          So you are saying that only wealthy WASPs should own guns, because if the rednecks and other people you consider lowlife do, it would cramp your style? Thanks for being at least honest about it!

        6. I’ll be happy to listen to your opinion as soon as you go to punditry training and get the appropriate press licensing.

      3. Many of the the gun-control advocates’ favorite “socialist” “developed nations” with far fewer guns have higher overall suicide rates, including Iceland, Finland Japan, South Korea, Poland, and France.

        The Finns love their guns.

      4. Including homicides in the accounting is wrong. There are many gun homicides that are a benefit of living in a liberal gun-owning society, and treating these like murder is massively intellectually dishonest.

        Which is par for the course with gun grabbers, of course, who assume that people won’t spend thirty seconds fact checking them.

    3. They should do what vox did, start the chart and 1999 so as to hide the decline in gun deaths.

  2. the gun control obsession is whatever Democrats decide this time counts as an “assault weapon.”

    Well, yeah, since they manufactured that term to apply to any firearm they want to. Just try to find any implement which can be used as a weapon – gun, knife, hammer, tire iron – which has no capacity to be used to assault somebody.

    1. Even the commonly accepted “semi-automatic” is a misnomer. Those firearms are “auto-loading” in the sense that they automatically place a round in the chamber. Even a revolver does that. But it’s all about demonization and distraction from abortion deaths.

      1. Single action revolvers are the only “manual” handgun I can think of that have more than one round capacity.

        1. This is considered a handgun.

          1. Bobarian, The Mare’s leg can be technically a handgun or a short barreled rifle depending on how it is made. The original Mare’s Leg, the one from the TV show Wanted: Dead or Alive, was made by shortening the stock and barrel of a Winchester Model 1892. In 2005, a company started making replica’s of the shortened version and selling it as a handgun so that the company could sell it to more people. If they had made it as a short barreled rifle, it would have fallen under the National Firearms Act and would have required additional background checks and a special tax stamp. If you were to take a Winchester Model 1892 and modify it to look like the Mare’s Leg, you have just made a short barreled rifle and would be violating the National Firearms Act.

            1. Exactly, thus the Rossi version shown is sold as a ‘handgun’.

        2. Double-barreled pistols…

      2. Revolvers don’t automatically place a round in the chamber. The force to rotate the cylinder is provided by your finger, either by cocking the hammer or via a longer trigger pull. In fact every revolver I’ve seen has a spent casing in the chamber under the hammer after firing, not a live round.

        I don’t get the hate on the term “semi-automatic”. Unlike “assault weapons” the term was invented by the gun industry and actually has a coherent definition.

        1. True about revolvers. But auto loading guns are not “semi-automatic” firing. Many gun manufacturers refer to their firearms as auto loading.
          The use of semi-automatic is inaccurate and the gun grabbers use it because it sounds like an automatic (firing) weapon which evokes fear.
          That’s all. Otherwise it is a quibble.

  3. If we exclude suicide, guns violence kills 3 in 100,000 and cars still kill 10 in 100,000 making neither a particularly likely cause of death.

    1. Using statistics like this is a form of violence. Probably comparable to gun violence.

    2. From the same article:

      Medical ailments, such as cancer and heart attacks, kill considerably more people each year than either guns or automobiles, according to the CDC.

      As best I can tell, non-suicide gun violence is approximately as dangerous to the average American as death by fall. We must stop the Christmas light death industry!

      1. Fuuuu. Just the first quoted paragraph is a quotation.

      2. Well since gun violence is a cancer on our country, it is axiomatic that cancer deaths will be greater than gun deaths.

    3. Well if you really want to compare the two, you have to look at “gun-induced suicides” versus only those who died from being struck by a car someone else was driving, no? Analogical completeness is important if we are going to ACTUALLY compare guns to cars.

      1. Again, fuck off, guns do not ‘induce’ (succeed in persuading or influencing (someone) to do something) anything.

      2. No. I’m comfortable saying that car induced suicides are small enough to discount in the rate. Especially since they already don’t count CO poisoning by car in those statistics.

      3. Well if you really want to compare the two, you have to look at “gun-induced suicides” versus only those who died from being struck by a car someone else was driving, no?

        No, we don’t. Guns are a means of suicide, they don’t “induce it”. Happy people don’t go killing themselves with guns just because they have a gun. Furthermore, the government has no business limiting access to technology because people can use it to deliberately harm themselves.

        The car vs. gun mortality comparison is itself pointless bullshit, but including suicides in gun mortality makes it completely dishonest.

  4. 30000 auto deaths = 30000 gun deaths. Yeah, the left are liars that figure. No surprise here.

  5. You know who else manipulated statistics for political gain…

    1. Every politician and “journalist”

    2. Hitler?

      Oh wait, is this not how the game is played?

  6. — The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic. —

    As deaths rates (from any cause drop), each new death becomes more tragic than the last. As each death becomes more tragic, it becomes more frightening (to large segments as the population).

    So the fundamental contradiction of modern life is we now live in the safest times in the history of humanity, and yet most members of the population tremble in constant fear of countless dangers, both real and imagined.

    1. — As deaths rates drop (from any cause), —

      I really need to fucking preview.

      1. I don’t know, man. The death rate from cause dropping is pretty scary.

  7. The last few suicides I remember reading about locally were elderly couples where dementia had claimed one spouse and the other ended the ordeal for both of them. Perhaps allowing assisted suicides would really put a dent in the “gun violence” statistics.

    1. Suicide isn’t an actual crime to begin with – regardless of whether the government wants to classify it as one or not.

      Each of us owns our own lives (the ultimate property right) and we can do what we want with it – including end it.

      1. Suicide is destruction of government property.

        1. That seems to be the underlying premise for making suicide a crime as well as laws against prostitution, drug use and other things.

          We are all resource units for the state and as such have a duty to maintain ourselves in such a manner as to maximize our utility to the state.

          1. Not for nothing, but nobody ever gets punished for suicide.

            You can only be punished for fucking it up.

            1. Please cite the name of any person currently in a general population prison in the US who has been convicted of attempted suicide. Involuntary commitments to mental institutions don’t count, btw.

              1. Involuntary commitments to mental institutions don’t count, btw.

                Maybe on your score-card.

                Please cite where I said anything about being sent to general population prison.

              2. He didn’t say that the US incarcerated people for suicide, he pointed out that legal punishment is logically only possible for people who attempt suicide and fail.

          2. When I was in the Marines I knew a guy who got a page 11 write up for hurting himself playing tackle football.

            The officer who wrote it up said that he had engaged in damage to govt property (him) and if it happened again he would get non-judicial punishment.

            1. Same thing happened to a guy on my ship in the Navy. He went to the beach, fell asleep (passed out), and got sunburned so bad he missed ships movement. They charged him with destruction of government property, among other things.

    2. Speaking of assisted suicide, I find it comical that lefties become anti-suicide when it comes to guns, yet support assisted suicide. If any party or ideology was going to be somewhat ‘soft’ on suicide, I would think it should be them. I guess they’re upset that firearm suicides involve people who didn’t get permission first.

  8. Outrage now kills more people than both guns and cars combined.


  9. Since suicide is self inflicted you can’t count those deaths.

  10. I suspect that the proggies are simply irritated by the oft-made observation that gun violence isn’t the leading cause of death and are trying to spike it any way they can.

    1. If they want to spike it by collectively offing themselves, I will applaud their efforts.

    2. The leading cause of death is clearly government dietary advice.


  11. Gun-related deaths and vehicular deaths are both down significantly. Everyone panic because cars are getting safer at a rate faster than the decline in the suicide rate!

  12. Instead of assault rifles, shouldnt the people concerned about gun violence be targeting suicide prevention?

    Or are they lying, as usual, about their goals?

    1. I believe the argument is that guns make suicide easier, same with crimes of passion, and because of that anyone who may be prone to such acts should not be allowed to legally own a firearm. The only way you can be confident that someone is not prone to such acts is for that person to be an government employee or retired government employee. Only they can be trusted because they’ve gone through government background checks, had government training, and most importantly they’re angels without self interest who have dedicated themselves to the greater good.

    2. Shorter answer: yeah, they’re lying. As usual.

      1. When Canada ratcheted up their gun control laws several years ago, they found the suicide rate *increase* slightly, as the now harder to obtain handguns use in suicide attempts was replaced by more attempts by stepping off high buildings, bridges, etc. Said means being a bit more lethal than handguns.

        Unintended consequences.

    3. Assault rifles were regulated in 1931 and new ones banned in 1986.

  13. Over the same period, gun deaths rose, but by a considerably smaller amount. Gun homicide rates have actually fallen in recent years, but those gains have been offset by rising gun suicide rates.

    I bet you that these Marxians would never call it “Building Suicide” whenever they talk about people falling from the top of buildings for the sake of consistency. Or “Rope Suicide” when it comes to self-hangings.

  14. Christopher Ingraham is a dishonest anti-gun hack. I have written to him to offer constructive criticism which he simply ignores and proceeds to write another anti-gun screed.

    1. Maybe if you stopped using harsh red colored crayons and used a softer pastel colored crayon, he would be more receptive to your criticism?

    2. to offer constructive criticism

      Like the right yoga stretches to be able to avoid muscle spasms from having your head up your ass?

  15. Shouldn’t we be banning cars?

  16. Isn’t this chart a good argument for regulating guns like we regulate cars? Safety features, education, licensing, insurance all works. It reduces deaths. The trend is down. We don’t regulate guns, the trend is flat.

    If everyone was using (firing) guns as much as they are using cars, you can bet the accidental gun deaths would increase immensely.

    1. Firearms are FAR more regulated than cars.

    2. I think I can get behind regulating guns like cars:
      No background check to buy
      No license or training req
      Own anything you want on private property
      No capacity limits
      No limits on automatics
      No bans on military versions
      16 to get a shall-issue nationwide valid permit
      Can have on government property, school property, etc.

      1. Thanks. I was too lazy to go through all that again.

    3. Safe handling of a firearm is quite simple. We don’t need government intervention for that, although if you’d like to introduce gun handling in the public schools we can do that, provided that the course is restricted to gun safety (and we all know it won’t be, given the gun banners’ current tendency to refer to their gun control schemes as “gun safety”).

    4. “We don’t regulate guns…”


      “…the trend is flat.”

      I guess you missed the part about it being flat due to suicides. No amount of “Safety features, education, licensing, insurance” will prevent that. You also seem to have overlooked that whole “Second Amendment” thing, for which there is no automotive equivalent.

  17. Driving or walking today is incredibly safe. The 2014 fatality rate was 1.07 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. If you are in a car for about 15,000 miles a year, that means you will be killed about once in every 6,000 years. Walking is even safer with one fatality for each 70 million miles walked. If you walk about 5 miles a day, you will be killed about once in every 38,000 years.

    The “crisis” of vehicle and pedestrian safety is an entirely invented and false “crisis”. Should we work to make things even safer? Sure, but there is NO crisis demanding huge and immediate changes.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  18. It’s really important to have insurance and also it’s quite important to have a safe car, to always fasten seat belts and if you have a baby in the car, you definitely need a proper car seat. And by the way, if you can’t choose a good one, check my source. I spent a lot of time to find it so you won’t have to do the same.

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