In this report we find that Seventeen states and the District of Columbia already experience gun death rates that exceed their motor vehicle-related death rates. If current trends continue, the number of states where gun deaths outpace motor vehicles deaths will only continue to increase. The historic drop in motor vehicle deaths illustrates how health and safety regulation can reduce deaths and injuries that were at one time thought to be unavoidable. Such an approach to injury prevention has been applied to every product Americans come into contact with every day except for one: guns. And as is the case with motor vehicles, health and safety regulation could reduce deaths and injuries associated with firearms.
Comprehensive regulation of the firearms industry and its products could include: minimum safety standards (i.e., specific design standards and the requirement of safety devices); bans on certain types of firearms such as "junk guns" and military-style assault weapons; limits on firepower; restrictions on gun possession by those convicted of a violent misdemeanor; expanded prohibitions on possession by persons with a history of domestic violence and better enforcement of existing prohibitions; heightened restrictions on the carrying of loaded guns in public; more detailed and timely data collection on gun production, sales, use in crime, as well as involvement in injury and death; and, public education about the extreme risks associated with exposure to firearms.
America is reaping the benefits of decades of successful injury prevention strategies on its highways, but continues to pay an unacceptable, yet equally preventable, cost in lives lost every year to gun violence.