Another mass shooting spurs the gun control debate in America. Gun control advocates and gun rights supporters argue their sides, but just talk over one another. With everyone talking in circles, nothing is accomplished.
Imagine if everyone treated guns like cars.
In 2016, the United States saw one of the most deadly years of vehicle deaths since 2007. While this number proved monumental, the following year surpassed the number of deaths. In 2017, the National Safety Council estimated more than 40,000 traffic deaths had occurred.
With so many fatalities occurring annually, why aren’t cars scrutinized the same way guns are? While cars prove dangerous, there is rarely any talk of banning or regulating cars.
If both guns and cars result in thousands of death each year, then why is the gun control debate the only prominent one? Gun debate is more akin to a culture debate. Conservatives tend to lean toward supporting gun rights, are more likely to own guns, and in turn, are more likely to enjoy shooting as a hobby or sport. Liberals tend to own fewer guns and not see the appeal in shooting for support. When it comes to cars, however, liberals and conservatives generally enjoy and understand the value of cars within society. Supporting cars does not instill a political divide.
Enacting this car/gun comparison would result in more productive conversations regarding gun control. In a debate where guns are viewed in a similar manner to cars, less attention is paid to the instrument. Focusing on the instrument alone—a car or a gun—proves futile and ineffective. After all, when combating drunk driving, the debate does not focus on cars, but rather the conditions behind drunk driving: drunk individuals refusing to call a cab and climbing behind the wheel, bars continuing to serve visibly intoxicated individuals, etc. Shifting the focus to the conditions behind the instrument can establish preventative measures that prove more effective when trying to inhibit future accidents or incidents.
In addition to these preventative measures, focusing on the conditions behind gun violence and deaths, rather than pushing to enact gun-focused regulations and proposals, might be met with less hostility from gun-rights supporters. This opens the floor for more productive dialogue on how to combat gun violence and deaths collaboratively.