“Cars, kill too–should we outlaw cars?” It is a standby line of gun advocates used in arguing against gun regulations. The pro gun master debaters usually follow the car line with “knives and hammers kill too” and “criminals won’t follow laws.”
Last month, CBS News put a new twist on the argument. Even though 90 percent of US households own cars and only a third own firearms, guns are rapidly becoming a bigger cause of death than cars. In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were 1,114 gun deaths in Illinois, where NGVAC is located, and 1,080 motor vehicle deaths. Fifteen other states also saw more gun deaths than car deaths that year including Alaska, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, Utah and Louisiana.
While the vehicle death statistics don’t show how many were alcohol related, drunk driving incidents have been steadily falling since Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) succeeded in framing the deaths as preventable and a public health problem. Their efforts were helped by the Century Council, a group of America’s leading distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.
Obviously objects like cars, knives and hammers were not invented to kill. Armies do not outfit their snipers with cars, knives or hammers. Knife attacks are never comparable to mass shootings, like the Aurora attack in which 72 were shot in seconds. A knife attack against children in China on the same day as the Sandy Hook elementary shootings in Newtown took no lives.
Nor is the other argument sensible. Criminals don’t follow any laws, not just gun laws. Why have laws against murder or theft? Why have red lights? If gun advocates and the gun lobby were really worried about criminals getting guns, why would they be against closing the gun show, private sale and online loopholes that arm criminals every day? Because armed criminals are preferable to the “government tyranny” of gun regulations.
Guns in the home are 12 times as likely to be used in suicides, homicides, domestic violence and mistaken identities than in self defense. Guns are increasingly used in road rage incidents as carriers seek and succeed in teaching other motorists a “lesson” for cutting them off or not letting them merge. Hey, we have the right to defend ourselves! Yet unlike the corporations who successfully addressed drunken driving 20 years ago, corporations remain silent about a cause of death that is now higher than motor vehicle deaths.
Tell corporate America to get off the gun violence “sidelines.” Join our action against Hallmark, the only major corporation that has publicly sworn it will never support anti-gun initiatives. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.