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Clark, Lawrence Strausser, Donna

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Do more people die each year in the United States from gun violence or drunk driving?

Gun deaths in the United States eclipse deaths during alcohol-impaired crashes, and by wide margins on pretty much every metric, according to federal data.

In 2016, the most recent available year for both gun deaths and alcohol-impaired crashes, more than 38,000 people died from a gunshot injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Less than 11,000 people died during an alcohol-impaired crash in the same year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

For that topline measure, gun deaths surpass alcohol-impaired crash deaths by more than 200 percent.

The vast majority of gun deaths in the United State are completed suicides, according to the CDC. Nearly 23,000, or roughly 60 percent, of all gun deaths in the United States in 2016 were considered suicides, according to CDC data.

Even when comparing overall alcohol-related crash deaths to just gun homicides, the gun deaths exceed DUI crashes.

There were roughly 14,000 gun-related homicides in the United States in 2016, according to the CDC. That is roughly 27 percent higher than the total number of alcohol-related crash deaths that same year.

The gap widens even more when looking at just the number of people other than the DUI driver killed in these crashes.

Alcohol-impaired drivers, with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, accounted for more than 60 percent of the people killed in DUI crashes, according to the NHTSA. About 4,000 people, including roughly 1,500 passengers in the DUI driver’s car, were killed in DUI crashes in 2016, the NHTSA reported.

If the comparison is the number people other than the shooter or the person driving under the influence, gun deaths are more than 250 percent greater than DUI crash deaths.

While alcohol-impaired crash deaths have fallen during the last decade by roughly 20 percent, according to the NHTSA, gun-related deaths have risen by roughly 20 percent, the CDC reported. Gun-related homicides remained largely flat between 2007 and 2015, but rose in 2016, according to the CDC.

Gun deaths and alcohol-impaired driving deaths are two different issues in different areas of the United States. For example, about 90 percent of gun-related homicides occurred in metropolitan areas in 2016, according to the CDC.

Data on the location of alcohol-related crash deaths in 2016 are not available.

However, there are consistently more DUI crash deaths in rural areas than urban areas, according to the NHTSA.

While a majority of gun-related suicides occur in metropolitan areas, a higher percentage of nonmetropolitan people die as a result of gun-related suicides, according to the CDC.

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Cops & Courts Reporter

Crime & Courts Reporter at The Sentinel.

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