2017 marked first year firearms killed more people than car accidents: study

The number of Americans who died from firearms surpassed those who died in car accidents for the first time in 2017, according to a new far-reaching report on gun violence.

The report, released Wednesday by Democratic members of the congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC), found that nearly 40,000 people were killed in the U.S. by a gun, including approximately 2,500 school-age children.

“That is over 100 people per day and more than five children killed each day,” the report stated.

{mosads}In 2017, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes, according to the Department of Transportation.

Additionally, the report found that race and where you live are key indicators in tracking gun violence and deaths. The report found that rural states have the highest rates of gun violence “measured as a share of their economies,” including Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

“Measured as a share of their economies” includes factors and costs such as lost income and spending, employer costs, police and criminal justice responses and health care treatment. The report estimated that gun violence costs the U.S. $229 billion a year.

“I believe that Congress must act to stem the gun violence epidemic in our country,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the top Democrat on the JEC, said during a committee hearing on Wednesday.

She added that while the report focused on the economic costs of gun violence, “there is no way to estimate the cost of a human life.”

States with the highest rates of gun ownership, including Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, West Virginia and Wyoming have the highest rates of gun suicides. Sixty percent of the total number of people who died from firearms died by suicide.

The report also found that nearly 7,500 black Americans die by gun homicide every year. 

“Compared to a young white male, a young black male is 20 times more likely to die of a firearm-related homicide,” the report said.

American teens and young adults ages 15 to 24 are 50 times more likely to die by gun violence than in other economically advanced countries, according to the report.

The effect of gun violence on children and teenagers also varies widely by state. The report cited figures showing the rate of gun-related deaths in Alaska, for example, was nearly eight times that of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.

The report analyzed data from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC is not allowed to spend federal funds “to advocate or promote gun control,” per the nearly 20-year-old Dickey Amendment. The report says the “ban has had a chilling effect on private and other research.”

“The lack of in-depth research — caused by the 1996 ban on funding for the CDC research on gun violence — makes it difficult to draw conclusions about how to most effectively reduce the human and economic cost of gun violence,” the report said.

“More study is needed to better understand both the costs of gun violence and the actions that can be taken to reduce it,” the report stated.

Maloney, speaking on Wednesday, said, “I would say that there is no issue that can’t be discussed and debated and studied.”

Tags Carolyn Maloney gun deaths gun violence

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