According to a report published by the Violence Policy Center, in 2010, gun deaths outnumber motor vehicle deaths in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control was used to complete this report.
In the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) there were a total of 1,512 gun deaths in 2010 and 1,280 motor vehicle deaths. Specifically: 99 firearm deaths and 38 motor vehicle deaths in the District of Columbia, 538 firearm deaths and 514 motor vehicle deaths in Maryland, and in Virginia there were 875 firearm deaths and 728 motor vehicle deaths.
Firearm deaths, nationwide, in 2010, were 31,672 and 35,498 motor vehicle deaths. Firearms are the only consumer product sold in the United States that is not regulated by the federal government for health and safety. Automobile safety, however; has been overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since 1966.
Deaths as a result of firearm use almost equal motor vehicle deaths even though there are about three times as many vehicles on the road then firearms.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is responsible in enforcing the U.S.'s limited gun laws, but it has none of the health and safety regulatory powers as the NHTSA. The health and safety regulations of firearms are left to the individual state.
The report published by the Violence Policy Center offers a few policy recommendations in order to improve data collection on firearms violence, increase regulation of the firearms industry and to reduce gun deaths and injuries. Some of their suggestions are:
- Detailed and timely data collection of gun production, sale, use in different crimes;
- The analysis of the types, make and models of firearms that are commonly or most often associated with injury, crimes and death;
- The implementation of safety standards for firearms
- Ban the sale of non sporting purpose guns;
- Limit the firepower of guns sold to the public;
- Expand the categories of persons prohibited from owning and possessing guns;
- Implement better restrictions on the carrying of loaded guns in public places;
- Person with a history of domestic violence and mental health issues should be restricted from being able to own and possess firearms; and
- Educate the public, through campaigns, about the risks associated with firearms.
If, these suggestions are taken into consideration by local, state and the federal governments, firearms deaths could be prevented. For more information visit the various websites sited.