Ban Cars and Prescription Drugs, not Guns

Cars and prescription drugs are much more dangerous the guns, so why don’t we ban them?

Last week, Ryan McMaken reported at Mises.org, “Pew: Homicide Rates Cut in Half Over Past 20 Years (While New Gun Ownership Soared).”

The Pew Research Center reported last week that the murder rate was cut nearly in half from 7 per 100,000 in 1993 to 3.6 per 100,000 in 2013. Over the same period, overall gun deaths (including accidents and suicides) have fallen by one-third from 15.2 to 10.6 per 100,000.

In spite of this, Pew reports, the American public believes that homicides and gun deaths are increasing in the United States. Those who think violence is getting worse should probably watch less television and look around them instead. The murder rate in the US is currently similar to 1950s levels.

Meanwhile, the number of privately owned guns (and gun commerce in general) in the United States has increased substantially in recent decades.

This week, McMaken wrote what might be seen as a follow-up article: “DEA Releases New Drug Overdose Death Figures: Guns Safer than Prescription Drugs.”

These are 2013 numbers, so let’s compare to other causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A drug overdose, with a death rate of 13.9 per 100,000, is almost four times as common as a cause of death than gun homicides (3.6 per 100,000). Death from prescription drugs (7.2 per 100,000) is twice as common as gun homicides.

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Obviously,  homicides aren’t exactly a leading cause of death in the US, and gun homicides, even less so. Accidental death by firearms (0.2 per 100,000) is a small blip.

For all those concerned parents who think little Johnny is likely to get gunned down on the street would be better advised to keep tabs on their prescription painkillers, as Johnny is far more likely to die from popping those than from any gun in your house or in the hands of a school mate.

And, of course, one is almost three times as likely to die in an auto accident (death rate of 10.7 per 100,000) than as a result of a homicide.

[See also, “Guns Everywhere! A Single Cheer For Bloomberg Businessweeks’ ‘4 Blunt Points’]

Yet Michael Bloomberg and others never talk about protecting our children from prescription drugs or cars. They are only focused on guns. They say we need commonsense gun protections, as if our current gun laws are inadequate and unsafe.

They are lying. There is no epidemic of gun violence.