Do guns kill people? Or do gun owners?

I’ve worked hard to get this fat, pal.

So I thought this image was interesting because of one of its key comparisons is actually quantifiable and comparable. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how many misspelled words pencils cause, or how many pounds of fat we can blame spoons for, but I can definitely talk about what cars are costing us in terms of human life.

In 2015, roughly 38,000 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents (s). Meanwhile in that year, there were 264 million registered cars in the US (s). That means there was one death for every 6,950 cars.

The ratio for guns is actually not so different. In 2013 (the most recent year I could find) there were roughly 300 million guns in the US (s). Meanwhile, there were 33,636 gun deaths (s). That means there was one death for every 8,920 guns.

So the average car is about 1.3 times as deadly as the average gun. I would have thought car danger would have blown gun danger out of the water, given how useful cars are and how sort-of-not-useful guns are (spoken like a city person).

This is also a bit surprising given how concentrated gun ownership is, which makes me wonder who is more dangerous, the average car owner, or the average gun owner?

In 2013, only 22 percent of US adults owned guns (s), and since there were 243 million adults in the US (s), this means that there were 53.5 million gun owners.

Cars seem much more widely distributed. While it’s tough to find information on the number of car owners, we can look at the number of licensed drivers, which stood at 218 million in 2015 (s).

Comparing these numbers to the death numbers given above, we can see that there was one car death per every 5.7 million drivers. For every gun death, meanwhile, there is only 1.4 million gun owners.

The average gun owner is four times as dangerous as the average driver!