Please consider that no matter how many rules and regulations are imposed on any given activity...It will never be enough to actually prevent people from working their way around it or ignoring them or outright breaking them.
While laws and regulations are designed to encourage proper behavior, all that laws and regulations can really accomplish is to specify punishments when violations occur.
People have been murdered ever since humans kept records (and likely well before that), so even laws that decree it is a violation to kill another human haven't stopped anyone from doing so but they do stipulate the penalty if one is found guilty.
Considering the exorbitant amount of laws and regulations and taxes and tests involving ownership and use of automobiles compared to the carefree wild free-for-all surrounding gun ownership ...
I sense you have become smarmy. You are much better than that.
.. there are still vastly more people killed or injured by the improper use of automobiles.
The other day I found the PDF at the CDC website on this issue, but I didn't bookmark it because I didn't think anyone was going to raise this particular issue. Silly me. The CDC site is too vast to find things quickly, so until I can locate the info again I will have to slum it at Wikipedia. This Wiki article shows
the same trend in vehicle deaths since the inception of the automobile.
The peak rate of auto deaths per 100K population was in 1937. The peak of automobile deaths (raw) was 1972. The rate of deaths per Vehicle Mile Traveled (VMT = middle column), which is the gold standard for efficacy, shows that the rate of vehicular deaths (all circumstances) has been in a steady decline since the inception of the automobile despite an ever-growing population and an ever-increasing number of automobiles and miles traveled. You will note that the raw number of vehicle deaths in 2012 is about 33,000.
I found the chart at the CDC the other day that compared autos to firearms and it showed that the deaths by firearms are slightly less than the number of deaths by vehicles, 32,XXX. However, I can't find that chart today. Here is a Pew Research article
that shows that in 2010 suicides by firearms were 19,392 and homocides by firearms were 11,078, which totals 30,470 deaths by firearms (unless there is another category that they didn't include).
If you wish to argue that the raw number of deaths by vehicles are greater than raw number of deaths by firearms, you would be correct, but just barely.
I know that vastly more people use automobiles everyday than guns but one thing I have never seen is a chart comparing the % of gun related death (excluding suicide) vs. automobile related death.
Correct, you won't. They can't. The comparison can't be made directly because there is no way to accurately compare the two more than the raw number of deaths.
First, since firearms aren't registered in the US, we really don't know the number of firearms that are actually out there so a comparison to the number of registered vehicles would not be accurate or helpful. Could some of the firearms produced in the US have been shipped out of the country? Yes. Second, as I stated above, the deaths by Vehicle Miles Traveled is the number to watch. That shows that through greater and greater usage of more and more automobiles, the rate of deaths has been on a downward trend for a long time.
One thing that should be noted is that by the late 1960s/early 1970s, the number of automobiles rapidly increased and so did the Vehicle Miles Traveled. Around that same time, due to various efforts to increase the laws and regulations for the safety of automobiles, most notably by Ralph Nader, the rate of deaths per VMT began to drop at a faster rate than before. As we have increased the regulations and requirements over the past 30 years the rate of deaths by VMT has been in a faster decline, and even more dramatically the rate of accidents by VMT has seen an even more dramatic decline.
While the creation of laws does not mean people will not violate them, by having laws and regulations in place that affect the head of the process (where cars are made, roads are designed and drivers are trained), we have been able to dramatically reduce deaths and injuries caused by vehicular accidents, as well as the rate of vehicular accidents without injury.
What have we done to affect the head of the process for firearms? Very little. Everyone cries fowl when anyone attempts to do so.
As a % of the number of automobiles and guns in circulation...which one actually causes more damage?
Maybe I should start an automobile fail thread.
By their nature, firearms more routinely kill people than injure them. Vehicles more routinely injure people than kill them. As I stated above, the efforts to improve the design of vehicles and highways, and to improve the training and monitoring of drivers means fewer people are killed in vehicular accidents each year (and even fewer have been injured). In the vast majority of cases, deaths by firearms are intentional while deaths by vehicle are accidental.
The only way to accurately compare the two based on population, penetration or usage, would be to compare the number of bullets fired (rate of usage) with the number of VMT. But there is no way to compare the two. Although gun owners buy ammunition, that doesn't mean that the ammunition has been fired or even how much has been fired. Given the fear frenzy acquired by gun owners on their own (not to mention the fear frenzy caused by the media), gun owners have been stockpiling ammunition at a rate that likely has no comparison to any time in history. Ergo, we cannot compare the number of firearms deaths to the number of bullets purchased as we can the vehicular deaths to the number of miles driven. Most people buy cars to use them daily (or at least a couple of times a week). Most people do not shoot the guns they own weekly, and many do not shoot their guns annually. This would indicate people remain better trained in the usage of an automobile than the usage of a firearm.
Now, an interesting discussion would be, Do we care about the rate of deaths or injuries caused by either firearms or vehicles? Is the ownership and use of firearms and vehicles more important than the damages they cause?
There is a question about gun ownership with a subtle context: Since firearms are more often used for suicides than homocides, does the American "gun culture" desire firearms so citizens can easily commit suicide?