On Tuesday, actress and gun control proponent Julianne Moore suggested background checks for firearms are comparable to safety requirements for cars, but she did not clarify whether she believes private car sales need federal background checks — even though that statistics show “the average car is 1.8 times as risky as the average gun.”
Moore pushed gun control in a Lenny Letter, which the Huffington Post describes as “a newsletter [which] was launched with young women in mind by HBO’s ‘Girls’ creator Lena Dunham and her co-producer Jenni Konner in July 2015.”
Moore used her Lenny Letter to equate gun control and car safety, writing:
I believe that gun-safety laws can reduce gun violence, even if they don’t eradicate it, because of the example set by the automobile industry. A car is also a machine. In order to drive it, we require licenses and training. We have added safety features like seatbelts, airbags, collapsible steering columns, and safety glass. We have made car manufacturers beholden to these measures. We have enacted speed limits and criminalized drunk driving. In the process we have reduced the auto fatality rate by nearly 40 percent in just the past 20 years.
A couple of things must be pointed out here. First, Moore’s main goal in equivocating between gun control and car safety is to push for expanded background checks on private gun sales. Does she believe private car sales should face background checks? Background checks for car sales are not one of the items she listed as a safety measure adopted by the automobile industry.
Secondly, Moore misses the fact that even with all the regulations and laws listed, cars remain far riskier to own than guns. Numbers released by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) show that the number of firearm-related deaths for 2013 was 33,636 but the number of car related deaths was 35,369. Moreover, because there were nearly 100 million fewer cars than firearms in 2013, the risks of car ownership are far greater than those associated with firearm ownership on percentage basis.
Breitbart News previously reported a study by Chris Conover, Research Scholar at the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research at Duke University. Conover presented the number of deaths — car-related and firearm-related — as a numerical tie in 2013. The figure was 33,000 for each. He said:
There were 310 million guns in the U.S. in 2009 (a Congressional Research Service figure have no reason to dispute), a figure that likely grew to perhaps 350 million by 2013. These guns result in 33,000 deaths in 2013, of which 64 percent were suicides, leaving 500 accidental deaths and 11,200 due to homicides.
There were 269 million registered vehicles in the U.S. in 2013. These result in 33,000 deaths a year, roughly half of which are drivers (these are official NHTSA statistics).
He then asked why those who claim to be so focused on safety would overlook the far greater danger of cars in order to pursue more government controls on guns. Conover observed:
In this sharply divided country, there surely is also strong disagreement about the extent to which government ought to be protecting citizens from self-harm. But I presume that a broad spectrum of the public on both sides of the aisle would agree there is an appropriate government role in protecting citizens from being harmed by one another. So if we leave aside self-inflicted deaths, the average car is 1.8 times as risky as the average gun. That is, my owning a car is 80 percent more likely to result in the death of another person my owning a gun.
So, Moore believes cars are safer than guns — but they are not. In fact, they are far riskier than guns. And this leads to an important question: Does Julianne Moore think private car sales need federal background checks?
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.