Gun-related deaths outpacing car crash deaths - 8 News NOW

Gun-related deaths outpacing car crash deaths

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LAS VEGAS -- New research shows that more Nevadans are being killed by guns than in car crashes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Violence Policy Center did the research. The Violence Policy Center calls gun violence a public health crisis and supports stricter gun control.

The report shows that over the past several years both types of deaths are on the decline.

In 2011, the latest statistics available, Nevada still saw 376 gun related deaths compared with 281 vehicle-related deaths.

This is the third year in a row that Nevada is among the top 14 states with high gun-related deaths.

These statistics have gun right advocates and those who want stricter gun safety regulations at odds.

Bob Irwin has been around guns all his life. He manages the Gun Store along East Tropicana Avenue.

He is passionate about his selection of guns and he was just as passionate about the recent study that came out about gun-related deaths in Nevada compared to death from car accidents.

"It is like comparing apples to oranges," Irwin said.

According to the CDC, in Nevada in 2011, there were 376 gun deaths and 281 motor vehicle-related deaths.

The gun deaths numbers include 272 suicides, 84 homicides and fatal unintentional shootings.

The car deaths numbers include occupants and pedestrians, but some gun advocates feel the analysis isn't a fair assessment.

"You have to look at what the statistics mean. We're comparing things that aren’t comparable. Guns are primarily used as self defense, but when police officer shoots a robber it is considered as a gun death." Irwin said.

He thinks the analysis is skewed by people's opinions on guns.

"The country seems to be divided that they're either good or bad. And it is neither one. It is a mechanical object. No one is saying cars are bad. Why blame the gun over the person who has the object?" Irwin said.

Teresa Crawford with Progress Now Nevada Action believes the reason the numbers are so high is because there aren't enough gun safety measures.

“Guns are the only consumer product that doesn’t have federal regulation. If we took a public health approach to gun safety, we could see these numbers go down," Crawford said.

Crawford says stricter gun laws and expanded background checks could help lower those numbers drastically.

Irwin says there is a bigger picture here.

"It's the person's actions that are changing here not the object," he said.

According to the report, the three top states with the highest gun-related deaths are Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

 

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