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Guns Now Killing as Many People as Cars in US

© REUTERS / Steve DipaolaPeople take part in candle light vigil following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon October 1, 2015
People take part in candle light vigil following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon October 1, 2015 - Sputnik International
Guns and cars are now killing people in the United States at the same rate for the first time in 60 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year, the age-adjusted death rate for both cars and firearms was 10.3 per 100,000 people.

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But the nexus of mortality statistics is not due to increased gun deaths, but because there has been a dramatic drop in car related deaths.

The reason automobile related deaths are declining could be said to be policy changes and technological innovation making cars and roads safer. The same improvements can be accomplished with regard to guns, but the political and cultural will to effect those kinds of life-saving societal changes does not currently exist.

Firearms innovation is popular and profitable, especially when it comes to aesthetics, but not when it comes to safety, due to a Congressional ban on federal gun research. There are reportedly only a dozen full-time gun researchers in the United States due to the ban. 

The CDC ended firearm research in 1996 — when the NRA accused them of promoting gun control and Congress threatened to strip their funding over it.

“It is possible for us to conduct firearm-related research within the context of our efforts to address youth violence, domestic violence, sexual violence, and suicide,” CDC spokeswoman Courtney Lenard wrote in January, “but our resources are very limited.”

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The Washington Post reports that one well known researcher, Garen Wintemute of the University of California at Davis, independently raised $1 million to continue his research.

"Within the United States, a wide array of empirical evidence indicates that more guns in a community leads to more homicide," David Hemenway, director for the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, wrote in Private Guns, Public Health.

“The trends provide an important lesson for US lawmakers,” Vox noted. “This is what happens when you take a public health issue seriously.”

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