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More gun deaths than vehicle deaths in Illinois

Monday, Jan 11, 2016

* Via the Sun-Times

While motor vehicle-related deaths are on the decline as the result of a successful decades-long public health-based injury prevention strategy, firearm deaths continue unabated—the direct result of the failure of policymakers to acknowledge and act on this ubiquitous and too often ignored public health problem.

Firearm-related fatalities exceeded motor vehicle fatalities in 21 states and the District of Columbia in 2014, the most recent year for which state-level data is available for both products from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That year, gun deaths (including gun suicide, homicide, and fatal unintentional shootings) outpaced motor vehicle deaths in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington (see table on next page for additional information). The number of states where gun deaths exceed motor vehicle deaths has increased from just 10 in 2009—the first year of data analyzed by the Violence Policy Center.

According to the study, Illinois recorded 1,075 vehicle-related deaths in 2014, compared to 1,179 gun-related deaths.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

55 Comments
  1. - Honeybear - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:08 pm:

    Honestly I just don’t understand why we can’t regulate guns as much as we regulate driving and vehicles. (No this wasn’t an invitation to be educated) It sickens me that we had so many deaths from guns.


  2. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:14 pm:

    ==Honestly I just don’t understand why we can’t regulate guns as much as we regulate driving and vehicles.==

    I would argue that, at least in Illinois, they’re more regulated than vehicles. You need a license to own a gun, a seperate license to carry a gun, both of which can be revoked for nonviolent crimes, and the background checks to obtain those licenses is a whole lot tougher to pass than a drivers license.


  3. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:18 pm:

    I condone sobriety check points AND “stop and frisk”.


  4. - Spliff - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:21 pm:

    Those are just raw numbers. it would be interesting to compare how many motor vehicles reside in the state versus how many guns reside here.


  5. - nona - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:23 pm:

    The Sun-Times said it well that guns and motor vehicles both constitute public health problems, but only one is regulated to reduce the harm.


  6. - Nope, Nope, Nope - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:26 pm:

    ===both of which can be revoked for nonviolent crimes===

    You can lose your drivers license for having unpaid parking tickets. Tell me again how many times you can be convicted of knowingly carrying a concealed firearm into a school before your CCW permit gets revoked?


  7. - The Dude Abides - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:27 pm:

    I read just last week that Chicago lead the US in gun homicides last year. It is so sad to see what’s occurring in our large cities. A good start would be to lock up those who commit crimes with guns and keep them locked up but we are not doing that. A lot of folks who are locked up for non violent offenses should be released on a case by case basis to make room for the dangerous criminals who use guns to commit crimes. That would be more effective in my judgment than telling a guy who has been a law abiding citizen his whole life that he can’t own a gun because it has a capacity of more than 10 rounds. We can’t identify an individual who has a history of mental illness when doing a mandated background check before approving a gun sale either. That will require some heavy lifting to fix but our political leaders are always looking for the easy way out.


  8. - Curmudgeon - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:28 pm:

    Reporting of “gun-related deaths” is as manipulated and inflated as much as the reporting of “alcohol-related traffic accidents.”

    There’s been lots of commentary noting that if an auto accident occurs and if an unopened six-pack in a grocery sack is found in the trunk, the accident will be reported as “alcohol-related.”

    Just this afternoon I read a column which stated that TWO-THIRDS of all gun-related deaths are suicides. Additionally, there are statistics indicating that gun-related crimes have actually decreased substantially.


  9. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:29 pm:

    ==- Blue dog dem - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:18 pm:==

    You endorse an approach that is proven not to decrease gun violence or seizures of illegal weapons? Why do you support bad policy?


  10. - Beaner - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:37 pm:

    Most of the fatal car accidents and most of these shootings involve alcohol. Control alcohol, you reduce violence.


  11. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:41 pm:

    -Honeybear-,

    In Illinois, firearms ownership is pretty heavily regulated compared to a lot of states. The owner is background checked before they are licensed. There are waiting periods between the time you actually purchase a gun and when you can take possession of it. You can legally only sell a gun to another licensed person. Illinois Concealed Carry law requires another check and the toughest training classes in the nation. Plus there are additional state and federal regulations.

    Quite frankly, with the exception of the lack of a requirement for Illinois owners to actually register each gun by serial number (which was waived in exchange for registering the owner in Illinois), making Illinois’ existing regulations nationwide would be a dream achievement for some of the national gun banning groups.

    And what’s really interesting is when you put it in historical context; pre-1968 Illinois had looser firearms regulation.


  12. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:45 pm:

    == it would be interesting to compare how many motor vehicles reside in the state versus how many guns reside here. ==

    Anecdotally, I happen to collect classic cars and I have about three times as many firearms (mostly family heirlooms).


  13. - Gooner - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:46 pm:

    RNUG,

    That historical context is interesting. 1968 brought urban unrest. When protesters started carrying guns, white Republicans — notably Ronald Reagan in California — became advocates for gun control.

    The other thing to keep in mind is since roughly 1985, the number of homicides in Chicago has been nearly cut in half. Correlation is not causation, but it is worth noting that for much of that time, Chicago did have some very strict gun laws.


  14. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:53 pm:

    –That historical context is interesting. 1968 brought urban unrest. When protesters started carrying guns, white Republicans — notably Ronald Reagan in California — became advocates for gun control.–

    Specifically, when the Black Panthers started toting around weapons wherever they went, including the state capitol in Sacramento.


  15. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    - Gooner -

    It’s always tough to draw conclusions when you don’t know exactly what factors are actually relevant, but I suspect that decline had as much, if not more, to do with an aging population since there was also a national pattern of decline.


  16. - Hit or Miss - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    === it would be interesting to compare how many motor vehicles reside in the state versus how many guns reside here.===

    I agree that it is an interesting question. However, while motor vehicles need to be registered in Illinois this is, as far as I know, not the case for guns. The analysis, therefore, probably could not be done due to the lack of reliable data.


  17. - logic not emotion - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 3:57 pm:

    I strongly suspect that the gun stats would drop to very low levels if you took out suicides* and gang violence related to drugs / turf. More regulations aren’t going to impact either of those much if at all and you would be doing so at the cost of preventing a viable means of self defense to many (so you might have a net loss in lives saved). Maybe good politics; but not good policy.

    Other nations with very strict gun control have far higher suicide rates.


  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:01 pm:

    ==Tell me again how many times you can be convicted of knowingly carrying a concealed firearm into a school before your CCW permit gets revoked?==

    If enforced, that’s a revokable offense. Your FOID card can also be revoked if you’re caught with a joint, even if you’re not convicted or even charged with possession. How many licenses do you know that have been forfeited because of that?


  19. - walker - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:04 pm:

    >

    True that. Yet the current Congress has blocked every attempt to actually study or research the issue of gun-related deaths and injuries as a public health issue.

    Better to stand by extreme positions, in the absence of information.


  20. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:10 pm:

    If Cook County were not counted, nor gang bangers shooting gang bangers (and occasional by-standers), the Illinois statistic would probably resemble those of Iowa or Indiana. So, just what is the question?


  21. - foster brooks - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:13 pm:

    How many gun deaths outside of NE Illinois?


  22. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:18 pm:

    Both gun related deaths and vehicle related deaths include suicides. Lost a good friend when he blew his head off. His wife and his psychologist both missed the signs he had become suicidal. He loved hunting and would have found another way to die. So I don’t think his case supports stricter gun control.
    We lost 633 people to heroin overdoses an more infants to drug related rollover deaths. Laquan McDonald was reported to have been born drug affected and to have died with PCP in his system.
    Effective Drug control will save more lives in Illinois than additional gun control.


  23. - Kevin Highland - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:29 pm:

    Subtract suicides and the numbers become more relevant. These numbers are then only a symptom of a much more disturbing trend or societal illness. Why some put such a low value on human life. Why are people willing to kill over who gets to sell drugs on what corner. Once we can figure that out we can then start to cure the underlying sickness and not strike out at symptoms that won’t go very deep into curing the disease.


  24. - Secret Square - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:31 pm:

    “That historical context is interesting. 1968 brought urban unrest”

    1968 also was one of the worst years for vehicle deaths in the U.S., with more than 52,000. In the decade from, roughly, ‘66 to ‘75 almost as many Americans died on the highways every year as were killed in the entire Vietnam War.


  25. - Cook County Commoner - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:38 pm:

    Don’t understand the relevance of the comparison. Cars are becoming safer, whereas guns, especially high capacity semi-auto hand guns, are becoming more lethal.


  26. - Anon III - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:40 pm:

    The analogy likens automobiles to firearms, and concludes that just as automobiles have continuously been redesigned and improved to reduce automobile deaths, so too should guns.

    This is a false analogy. Firearms and automobiles are materially different. A firearm is an inherently dangerous instrument. An automobile is not.

    The normal and intended use of an automobile is to transport persons. When operated in the manner and for the purpose for which it was designed and intended, an automobile does not present an inherent risk of death and bodily harm.

    The normal and intended use of a firearm is as a weapon, whether against a squirrel, a deer, or a person. When operated in the manner and for the purpose for which it was designed and intended, a firearm does present a risk of death and bodily harm. That’s what weapons do.


  27. - The Dude Abides - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:49 pm:

    I knew that over half of the individuals killed with guns every year in the US were the result of suicide but I hadn’t realized that it was approaching two thirds of the total number. If an individual commits suicide by way or overdosing on pills or by jumping off a bridge it is seen as a mental health or addiction issue. If they commit suicide with a gun it is no longer a mental health or addiction issue but a gun control issue in the minds of many. That is because it suits their agenda.


  28. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:51 pm:

    According to the CDC, more than half of all gun deaths are self inflicted.

    These numbers include self inflicted deaths in the “gun deaths”, but the study fails to acknowledge the cause of more than half of gun deaths in their suggestions and conclusion. They make it sound like these are all homicides, which is misleading.


  29. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:52 pm:

    - Cook County Commoner -

    Actually, I would argue they have become safer over the past century and a half. A lot of my heirloom firearms don’t even have an external safety. An old semi-auto pistol does not have an indicator that a shell is loaded in the chamber. And large ammo capacity is nothing new either. Newer firearms have all of that except for a few “professional” models.

    And as far as cars go, I’m not sure that is completely true. Yes, the new ones have lots of features to protect you when you wreck one. But the new ones can also be quite distracting with all their electronics. Plus the different interfaces to the controls; for example, now to shift out of park, you have to decide if it is a column shift, a floor shift, or a dial or a push button on the dash or console. You actually need a smarter driver because, in some cases, you can no longer just reach out and turn a obvious switch or dial; instead you end up distracted trying to perform a function that used to be second nature.


  30. - logic not emotion - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:52 pm:

    Anon III: I’m not up on my physics. Please explain to me how a 3,000 pound vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour is much less dangerous than a 180 grain (2.57% of a pound) bullet traveling at 1,200 feet per second (818 miles per hour).


  31. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 4:55 pm:

    “since roughly 1985, the number of homicides in Chicago has been nearly cut in half.” / They have, as they have plummeted nationwide.

    During that time, we have fallen well behind other major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Houston in terms of gun violence and deaths even with those stricter laws.


  32. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 5:02 pm:

    Anon III is obviously referring to the difference in the fundamental purpose of the two. Automobiles are designed to transport people and cargo, not destroy things.

    You can use it to destroy, just as you can use a baseball bat, a steak knife, or a wrench to destroy. But the basic purpose for a vehicle existing is very different from the basic purpose and design of a gun.


  33. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 5:08 pm:

    ===But the basic purpose for a vehicle existing is very different from the basic purpose and design of a gun.===

    Certainly.

    But I’d note that vehicle deaths are often the result of the user not operating the vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommendations whereas with firearms, deaths are often the result when they are used as designed and intended.


  34. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 5:09 pm:

    When a firearm owner is required to carry liability insurance on their guns then you can say firearms are more regulated than vehicles.

    The problem is not going away anytime soon. As long as the NRA and the gun lobby are running interference on any meaningful legislation this problem is only bound to escalate. As a gun owner that scares me. Many times in my life I’ve watched the pendulum swing too far to one side and the result has ALWAYS been drastic changes.


  35. - blue dog dem - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 5:16 pm:

    I know I go to bed every night,knowing my state is the only one in the country that requires a FOID card that I am safer.


  36. - Anon III - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 5:21 pm:

    Logic/emot @ 4:52

    A wooden chair can be used as a weapon to bash a person over the head, but it is not inherently dangerous. Danger is the likelihood of harm. A chair does not present a likelihood of harm.

    I drove my auto today at more than fifty-five m.p.h., but I didn’t aim the car at anyone, so it wasn’t dangerous. It’s back in the garage, and no one was hurt. When operated in the manner and for the purpose for which it was designed and intended, the automobile does not present an inherent danger.

    If I aimed a .22 at a squirrel, I would likely hit the critter and kill it. That’s what guns are for, to kill. When operated in the manner and for the purpose for which it was designed and intended, a firearm will likely cause death and bodily harm.


  37. - Pawn - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 5:39 pm:

    Why is everyone subtracting suicides? The evidence is that laxer gun laws do increase suicides, and tighter laws reduce them. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/01/18/obamas-guns-gambit


  38. - FormerParatrooper - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 5:58 pm:

    We have drivers education in schools to help our youth become better drivers and more aware of the dangers. We have sex education in schools to help lower the unwanted pregnancy rates. We need to include firearm education as well. Education helps mitigate risks in all aspects of life, even firearms.
    We also need to stop plea bargaining serial offenders to lesser charges when firearms are used in a crime. I generally am against mandatory requirements, but in the case of violent offenders with a firearm, mandatory sentences of 20 years minimum, no parole, and no time off for good behavior. If the offense is against a child, the disabled, the elderly or in the commission of a sexual offense then life in prison, no second chances. After the time is served if the same offender reoffends, life imprisonment, no parole, no third chance. This applies to ALL offenders regardless of socioeconomic factors. IMHO this will put a major dent in the fatality rates as repeat offenders are out of society and others may reconsider their life choices.
    Background checks, waiting periods, licensing firearm owners, and the rest will do nothing if we do not enforce real penalties for the violent people in our society. If you are concerned that we have too many people in prison, well release nonviolent offenders to make room for the violent offenders based on the severity of the nonviolent criminals crime. When we have released all the nonviolent criminals that we have decided pose no threat to society, and the prisons are full of violent criminals, we have two options, build new prisons or start to execute the most heinous offenders to make room. Sound extreme? We have an extreme problem with violent criminals, it is time we stop coddling them and start penalizing them.

    To address suicide, we need to be better family members, neighbors and friends. If someone appears to be depressed and you feel they may harm themselves, be there for them. Help them find the help they need. We don’t have the mental health facilities we used too and that cut both ways in the argument about them. They were good to house people who were a danger to themselves and others, those people belonged where there was help and prisons, but the cruelty inflicted on many did not justify dismantling the entire system. It needed reformed, not taken down. Some can never be saved, some we will not know the intent until it is too late, but we can help many by being better to each other.

    To the numbers in the article, this is not the same traffic number IDOT reports on Dec 31, 2014. IDOT show 988 traffic fatalities. http://apps.dot.illinois.gov/FatalCrash/Home/CrashData/2014 . That would mean by midnight there would have had been an additional 87 fatalities on December 31, 2014.
    The only report I found with the numbers of the study, was the study. I found that to be odd.


  39. - FormerParatrooper - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 6:01 pm:

    “They were good to house people who were a danger to themselves and others, those people belonged where there was help and prisons”

    Should have said NOT prisons.


  40. - Amalia - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 6:01 pm:

    sure, lots of these gun deaths are from suicides and Cook County, but the cost of death and injury is passed on to all of us. It’s not just a matter of the lives affected, it is a huge pocketbook issue whether public funded hospitals or insurance costs that pick up coverage. Gun injuries and deaths mean public health crisis. national level studies are needed if only the NRA would allow funds to be spent. more regulation and education is necessary. it’s not just about something that happens to someone else. it affects all of us.


  41. - Generation X - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 6:05 pm:

    Paratrooper is correct. Only stricter gun laws and heavier sentences for firearm related offenses will slow gun deaths.

    The fact is a an overwhelming majority of these gun related deaths were committed by individuals who were breaking EXISTING laws when they killed someone.


  42. - Generation X - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 6:06 pm:

    Stricter sentencing laws I meant


  43. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 6:26 pm:

    Former Paratrooper@5:58——-SUPERB!!!


  44. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 7:28 pm:

    –During that time, we have fallen well behind other major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Houston in terms of gun violence and deaths even with those stricter laws. –

    Chicago does not have stricter gun laws than New York or Los Angeles.

    Here are Top 10 U.S. cities over 200,000 by homicide rate:

    Detroit
    New Orleans
    Newark
    St. Louis
    Baltimore
    Birmingham
    Cincinatti
    Oakland
    Baton Rouge
    Kansas City

    Among all U.S. cities, East St. Louis has the highest homicide rate.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/12/highest-murder-rate-us-cities-2013_n_6145404.html

    http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/top-lists/highest-murder-rate-cities/


  45. - Slick Willy - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 8:17 pm:

    I am all for regulating guns like cars. You do not need a license to buy a car. You can operate a car on private property, take a car to a track or drag strip and operate it without insurance, registration or plates. I am not prevented from owning certain types of cars ans I can sell my car to anyone, even from another state, without a background check. Plus, my drivers license is honored in all 50 states and the provinces of Canada.


  46. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 8:30 pm:

    You may not need a license to buy a car but you better have a state issued title to prove you own it … which is pretty much an after the fact licence to possess it.


  47. - Will P - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 9:06 pm:

    400 firearm homicides in Cook county, where the most strict gun laws exist. Remove those deaths, it isn’t even close. Gun control advocates have yet to show that any law results in a decline of crime.


  48. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 9:34 pm:

    RNUG, I would agree with you that the benefits of airbags, better construction, ABS, stability control (the latter two many car owners still don’t know they have) new cars today are losing a margin of safety due to gadgets, touchscreens, and gizmos. I recently looked over the big Tesla and the thing looks like it has a MacBook shoved sideways in the dash. All systems are controlled though this screen. I don’t see how one could work most of it without taking eyes off the road.


  49. - Glenn - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 9:52 pm:

    As long as we are comparing apples and oranges:

    More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.

    Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.

    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm


  50. - DAN S - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 9:53 pm:

    We are never going to get to the root of the problem, if we keep avoiding the real problem. In 20015 in Chicago, there were 502 Homicides(and still counting). If we remove the white homicides we stand at 484. Now I know it’s easier to blame the law abiding gun owner than your voters and they, for the most part, are related to your voters: baby daddies, sons, uncles, brothers. Common sense reforms, like those proposed by FormerParatrooper, will never be enacted, it will be seen as racist, too many people of the wrong color going to jail, even though they are the guilty ones. When you want to get serious, give me a call.


  51. - Gooner - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 9:58 pm:

    I have to be amused by the people pointing out that Chicago has most of the state’s homicides.

    Of course, it also has a huge number of people.

    Apparently, the concept of “per capita” is lost on many pro-gun people.


  52. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 10:32 pm:

    -AA-,

    I recently bought a new Lincoln and it’s the first new car in 40 years; our next newest (used) car is a mid-90’s model. The rest are 1950’s / 1960’s vintage technology.

    Real difference. Had we not rented 2013 / 2014 Fords a couple of times, it would have been a real shock. Even after I put a few thousand miles on it, I had to take an hour and half class just get somewhat comfortable with it.

    I like the AWD, traction, and stability controls plus the sport mode. Also the various parking and driving aids but it was a learning curve. Still have to stop and think what this or that particular chime or tone means when it goes off. And Ford, at least, was smart enough to keep dials and switches for a lot of the controls while adding touchscreen and voice modes.


  53. - Generation X - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 11:05 pm:

    Sooner

    The City of Chicago represents about 23% of the Illinois population. Chicago accounts for about 68% of the State’s homicides.

    Maybe “pro gun” people aren’t the ones struggling with per capita


  54. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 11, 16 @ 11:22 pm:

    “Chicago does not have stricter gun laws than New York or Los Angeles.”

    Chicago obviously had stricter gun laws “during that time”. You could not own a handgun in Chicago before the Supreme Court required the city to allow it in June 2010. Concealed carry was not allowed until 2012. Gun stores were not allowed until another court ruling in 2014. Those are just a few examples among many.


  55. - Payback - Tuesday, Jan 12, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    What number of the homicides and fatal unintentional shootings were of police killing citizens?

    Some news sources state that police departments do not report or are not required to report police shootings to the FBI for the Uniform Crime reports.


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