Study finds gun-related deaths outpace vehicle fatalities in NV - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Study finds gun-related deaths outpace vehicle fatalities in NV

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The barrel of a gun is seen in this undated file image. (File/FOX5) The barrel of a gun is seen in this undated file image. (File/FOX5)

Nevada is one of 14 states where there are more gun-related deaths than motor vehicle fatalities. That's according to a new study conducted by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control.

The study, which used data collected in 2011, found that there were 376 gun-related deaths in Nevada that year. It includes suicides, homicides and deadly unintentional shootings. That's compared to the 281 traffic fatalities our state had that year.

"I'm not surprised," said Teresa Crawford, who volunteers for several gun violence prevention organizations.

Crawford believes gun violence is a public health issue.

"We've spent billions of dollars in research, engineering, legislation, consequences for unsafe driving. All of those serve to decrease deaths on the highway. Whereas for gun violence, we're really not doing much," she said.

However, not everyone agrees with the study's findings, claiming the Violence Policy Center is biased.

"I believe it's coming from the left - those that are looking to see total disarmament of the United States," said Leon Novak, a firearms instructor at Urban Civil Defense in Henderson.

Urban Civil Defense runs background checks on its customers ahead of firearms purchase. Novak doesn't believe further restrictions on firearms is the answer to ending gun violence.

"When somebody wants to deprive or somehow suppress my right to keep and bear arms, I definitely have a problem with that," he said.

"Nobody's banning anything," Crawford said. "We're just talking about making our communities and schools safer."

Nationwide, the study found more than 32,000 people died in gun-related incidents in 2011. More than 35,000 died in motor vehicle deaths that year.

Ohio and Illinois topped the list with more than 1,000 gun-related deaths in 2011, according to the study. Gun deaths also outnumbered auto deaths in Arizona and Utah, researchers found.

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