You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Gun rights advocates’ favorite defense, “you’re more likely to die in a car accident,” is no longer true.

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images News

In 2014, firearms caused 10 deaths per 100,000 people, the same death rate as car accidents that year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The data, flagged by The Washington Post, is a powerful rejoinder to conservatives’ claims that, as Breitbart put it, you are “70 times more likely to die in a vehicle accident than by the accidental discharge of a firearm.” (Note the emphasis on “accidental discharge,” thereby excluding homicides.)

In 2005, guns had a higher death rate than cars in only two states: Alaska and Maryland. By 2014, that was also true in 19 other states plus D.C. That’s because car deaths have plummeted while gun deaths have inched upThe Post proposes a long list of reasons for the decline in road-related deaths—airbags, seat-belts, tougher penalties for drunk drivers—while noting that “gun control regulation has been more erratic.”