Cars Are More Dangerous Than Guns

I really don’t understand the horror some people have for guns. Really, they should be afraid of driving.

I have contended for a long time that cars and trucks and other moving vehicles are far more deadly than guns which are legally carried for self defense.

My reasoning is as follows:

First, handguns being carried legally are not ordinarily handled except when getting dressed or undressed. In my case this amounts to perhaps 30 seconds in the course of a day. The rest of the time they are inert and quite safe in the holster (you do have your gun in a holster, right?). Risk due to human error equals perhaps 30 seconds in 24 hours.

Second, with a handgun, shooting someone requires several things to go right; you must draw, disengage any safety, aim the gun and pull the trigger, for instance. And one bullet is not likely to damage more than one person.

Comparing this to automotive dangers:

First, vehicles are manually controlled at all times. Every second you (or the guy approaching you at 70 mph) are behind the wheel, you (and he) are subject to human error. If either one of you screws up, terrible things happen. Think about two drivers approaching each other on a two lane road, both at, say 60 mph. Let’s say one car has your family of four in it, and the other has just the driver. If either one of you make the wrong mistake, five people could easily die or be horribly injured.

The probability of this happening is many times what it is for a handgun accident, because most of us are subject to this scenario many times each day, and because twice as many people (either driver) can cause the accident.

Further, consider the comparison of kinetic energy available to an automobile compared to a handgun bullet:

The equation is KE = (m * v^2) / 2
where KE is kinetic energy, m = mass, and v = velocity

For the bullet, based on a 230 grain (0.0329 lb.) .45 auto slug traveling at 900 feet per second, KE (converted) comes in at 414 foot-pounds. (I cheated and used a physics calculator here).

For the car, based on a 3000 pound car traveling at 60 mph, a similar calculation arrives at a value of 361,036 foot-pounds. This is 872 times the force exerted by the bullet. And that is doubled in a two-car head-on collision.

So with a car, you have many, many times the opportunity to have an accident – and much, much higher forces are involved if you do. And for that matter, in a car you are more likely to impact something, since you are probably inside the moving object! Plus, it is far easier to hit something you don’t want to, in a car that is six feet wide and 17 feet long.

John Lott has an interesting article up this morning about mass killings using vehicles; he brings together a number of cases where people, intentionally or otherwise, drove into crowds, etc. It kind of drives home my point.

Gunsafe says that there are about 43,000 accidental vehicular deaths each year, and about 1,100 fatal firearms accidents per year. By that measure, cars are 39 times more likely to kill you than a gun.

Be careful driving, folks!

-Popgun

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2 Responses to Cars Are More Dangerous Than Guns

  1. Jerry Minor says:

    One of my wife’s coworkers had just pulled out of the workplace parking lot yesterday when she was hit by a drunk driver, pushed head on into oncoming traffic, and killed. This was 3:00 in the afternoon. The drunk was 0.27 and had his three children in the car with him. She left behind a husband and two small children. Two, and possibly three families were destroyed yesterday: those of the victim, the drunk, and possibly that of the other driver.

    In related news, my guns didn’t kill anyone yesterday.

    • popgun says:

      Wow, Jerry; that is a powerful, powerful comment. God help those families.

      Regards,
      -Popgun

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