Louisiana is among a handful of states where guns now kill more people than cars.
The trend, spurred at least partly by increasing vehicle safety standards and generally declining crash-related deaths, is more pronounced in Louisiana than in nearly every other state in the nation, according to a report released Tuesday by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that advocates for gun control.
Using data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the report said there were 886 gun deaths and 767 motor vehicle deaths in Louisiana in 2013. The per capita difference in gun deaths versus car deaths was higher only in Alaska, Nevada and Utah, although only in Alaska were there more gun deaths per 100,000 people than in Louisiana.
Alaska, with 144 gun deaths and 66 motor vehicle deaths, recorded 19.59 gun deaths and 8.98 motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 people. Louisiana recorded 19.15 gun deaths and 16.58 motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 people.
Between 2003 and 2009, Louisiana recorded more motor vehicle deaths than gun deaths.
But in 2010, gun deaths became more common than motor vehicle deaths. The same was true in 2011, according to CDC figures.
Inexplicably, in 2012, there was a sharp rise in motor vehicle deaths in Louisiana, according to CDC figures, making such deaths more common than gun deaths. Other agencies that collect fatal crash data for Louisiana did not report such a stark rise in motor vehicle deaths, and the CDC could not on Tuesday offer a possible explanation for the rise.
While motor vehicle deaths across the country have gone down almost every year since the early 2000s, according to the report, gun deaths continue to climb.
In 2013, there were 33,636 gun deaths nationwide. The figure includes homicides, suicides, accidents and any other deaths caused by a gunshot wound, according to the CDC.
In 2013, there were 35,612 motor vehicle deaths nationwide, which included occupants and pedestrians killed in or by a motor vehicle.
“The health and safety regulation of motor vehicles stands as a public health success story, yet firearms remain the last consumer product manufactured in the United States not subject to federal health and safety regulation,” the Violence Policy Center report said.
The report can be found online at www.vpc.org/studies/gunsvscars15.pdf.
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