Gun Deaths Outpace Motor Vehicle Deaths in 14 States and the District of Columbia in 2011

For Release: Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Additional Contact: Sue Hornik
States United to Prevent Gun Violence

To reduce gun death and injury, firearms should be subject to federal health and safety standards just like all other consumer products

Washington, DC — Gun deaths outpaced motor vehicle deaths in 14 states and the District of Columbia in 2011, the most recent year for which comprehensive nationwide data is available, a new analysis from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) finds.

In 2011, there were more gun deaths than motor vehicle deaths in the following states: Alaska,Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington State, as well as the District of Columbia (see below for the mortality figures for each jurisdiction). Data is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and is the most recent available to compare death rates from both products.

This is the third year the VPC has issued its annual report comparing gun deaths to motor vehicle deaths by state. Gun deaths include gun suicides, homicides, and fatal unintentional shootings; motor vehicle deaths include both occupants and pedestrians.

More than 90 percent of American households own a car while little more than a third of American households have a gun. Americans’ exposure to motor vehicles vastly outweighs their exposure to firearms. Yet in 2011, there were 32,351 gun deaths and 35,543 motor vehicle deaths nationwide. In 1999, there were 28,874 gun deaths and 42,624 motor vehicle deaths nationwide.


Firearms are the only consumer product in America not regulated by the federal government for health and safety. Meanwhile, motor vehicle deaths are on a steady decline, thanks to decades of public health-based injury prevention strategies and proven consumer product safety regulation standards designed to reduce death and injury.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis with an unacceptable toll on human life,” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “To reduce gun death and injury, firearms must be regulated for health and safety just as we regulate motor vehicles and all other consumer products.”

“We didn’t put up with a free-for-all on our highways, and it’s time to end the gun violence free-for-all in our schools and neighborhoods,” states Sue Hornik, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence.

The report includes specific recommendations on how the federal government should regulate firearms to reduce gun death and injury. To read the full report, please visit

Here are the figures for each of the 14 states and the District of Columbia:

Alaska: 126 gun deaths, 87 motor vehicle deaths

Arizona: 964 gun deaths, 872 motor vehicle deaths

Colorado: 573 gun deaths, 512 motor vehicle deaths

District of Columbia: 86 gun deaths, 39 motor vehicle deaths

Illinois: 1,114 gun deaths, 1,080 motor vehicle deaths

Louisiana: 865 gun deaths, 750 motor vehicle deaths

Maryland: 542 gun deaths, 517 motor vehicle deaths

Michigan: 1,156 gun deaths, 1,016 motor vehicle deaths

Nevada: 376 gun deaths, 281 motor vehicle deaths

Ohio: 1,227 gun deaths, 1,178 motor vehicle deaths

Oregon: 420 gun deaths, 371 motor vehicle deaths

Utah: 308 gun deaths, 277 motor vehicle deaths

Vermont: 78 gun deaths, 62 motor vehicle deaths

Virginia: 868 gun deaths, 816 motor vehicle deaths

Washington: 624 gun deaths, 554 motor vehicle deaths



About the Violence Policy Center

The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

States United to Prevent Gun Violence ( is a national non-profit organization working to support state-based gun violence prevention groups and help build new state-led organizations. States United believes that all Americans deserve to live in a country free from the fear, threat, and devastation caused by gun violence.



The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Media Contact:
Georgia Seltzer
(202) 822-8200 x104