- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - More people died from gunshots than car accidents in Tennessee during 2014.

The Violence Policy Center, an organization dedicated to informing people about gun violence, has produced a study comparing gun and car deaths across the nation in 2014, the Chattanooga Times Free Press (https://bit.ly/1OPTEKs) reports. The study found that Tennessee was among the 21 states that saw more gun-related deaths than vehicle-related deaths that year.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states 1,020 people in Tennessee died from gunshots during 2014. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, 906 people died that same year from car accidents.

The statistics also reveal gun-related deaths in Tennessee have increased over the past decade. In 2004, there were 865 deaths from gunshots.

During that same period, vehicle-related deaths dropped from 1,191 to 906.

Trentyn Murrell, a sales associate at The Shooter’s Depot in Chattanooga, says there is a difference between gun- and vehicle-related deaths.

“It is a privilege to be able to drive, but it is a right to be able to carry a firearm,” he commented. “Yes, crime is rising. But why? Don’t look at just the cars or just the guns. Why is crime rising?”

Advocate for gun regulation, Ladd Everitt, the director of communications at the Coalition to End Gun Violence, countered by stating that the opposing trends prove that government regulation can make an industry safer without obliterating it.

“Currently in the United States, over 90 percent of households own a car,” he said. “Only 32 percent own a firearm. That the death totals between the two are close at all to me is remarkable, given how many Americans drive versus how many handle a gun.”

Kristen Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center, says gun deaths have dropped since the mid-90s, but the center does believe gun deaths will decline further.

She says she would like to see the federal government create standards to regulate guns’ trigger pull and size. She also hopes for a ban on particular subsets of weapons including rifles “designed to increase lethality.”


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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