In 1972, U.S. auto accident deaths peaked at 54,589. Industry and government invested billions to improve highway safety. The safety programs were broad, well funded and rational.
By 2011, auto-related fatalities decreased about 40 percent to 32,367, on a long continuing downward trend, even though vehicle miles driven increased about 240 percent.
In 2011, the number of gun deaths in the U.S. again increased, to 31,940. If those two trends continue in 2013, the number of gun deaths will exceed the number from traffic accidents.
Government-funded research into the causes and prevention of firearm injury and death is minimal. Presumably, in return for campaign cash and fear of opposition, Congress adds appropriation language like: "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control."
The time for federally funded research into the causes and prevention of gun injury and death is decades past due. The time for Congress to stop kowtowing and cowering before the gun lobby is now.
With public support, effective, rational firearm regulations and possession licensing that do not violate the Second Amendment are possible.