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Gun deaths continue to surpass motor vehicle deaths in Missouri

Gun deaths continue to surpass motor vehicle deaths in Missouri

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ST. LOUIS • An organization that advocates for restrictions on firearms released a report Tuesday that says Missouri is one of 17 states and the District of Columbia where more people die from shootings than motor vehicle crashes.

“While motor vehicle-related deaths are on the decline as the result of a successful decades-long public health-based injury prevention strategy, firearm deaths continue unabated — the direct result of the failure of policymakers to acknowledge and act on this ubiquitous and too often ignored public health problem,” the Violence Policy Center wrote in its report.

Referring to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, the Washington-based organization says 33,636 gun deaths were reported nationwide in 2013, or a rate of 10.64 for every 100,000 people; motor vehicle deaths totaled 35,612, or a rate of 11.27.

Missouri had 880 gun deaths, or a rate of 14.56, and 781 motor vehicle deaths, or a rate of 12.92.

The five states with the highest rates of gun deaths were Alaska, Louisiana, Wyoming, Tennessee and Missouri. Illinois wasn’t mentioned in the Violence Policy Center report.

Missouri gun deaths have outpaced motor vehicle deaths three years in a row.

The Violence Policy Center points out that more than 90 percent of households own a vehicle, and less than a third have a firearm.

The report was issued a few days before the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

A representative for the NRA didn’t immediately comment about the report.

While street gun violence is often written about in the news, suicide is covered less.

More than 38,000 suicides happen in the U.S. each year. The national rate has risen in recent years and surpassed traffic wrecks as the leading cause of injury mortality, according to a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

In St. Louis County alone, there were 130 suicides in 2011, accounting for more deaths than fatal motor vehicle accidents and homicides combined. Many of those suicides involved firearms.

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