Guns kill more people than cars do in a growing number of states, according to a new analysis of national mortality data from the Violence Policy Center. The report finds that in 2013, firearm-related deaths exceeded those caused by motor vehicles in 17 states and the District of Columbia. This means that four more states have crossed this threshold since 2012, including Louisiana, Missouri, Virginia, and Tennessee. In Nashville this Friday, the National Rifle Association opens the doors to its 144th annual convention.
The Violence Policy Center’s report is the latest among several studies indicating that guns are soon likely to surpass cars as America’s “top killing machine.” While traffic safety regulations have helped reduce the number of motor-vehicle-related deaths over the years, the report notes that the number of deaths caused by firearms has been creeping up, as the chart below shows. That’s noteworthy in part because about 90 percent of American households own a car, but less than a third of American households own guns.