Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon and Washington are among ten states where more people died from gunfire in 2009 than in car accidents.

2009 is the most recent year for state-level data.

The Violence Policy Center analyzed federal data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The group found that Oregon had 417 gun related deaths and 394 motor vehicle deaths. Washington had 623 gun deaths and 580 deaths in car accidents.

Kristen Rand is the Legislative Director for the Violence Policy Center. She says guns are the only consumer product not regulated by the Federal Government for health and safety.

Rand said, "There are virtually no controls, so you have this whole range of problems with the firearms themselves. Also, the fact that there is categories of people who aren't supposed to possess firearms, but sometimes the enforcement in that is very spotty."

The Violence Policy Center is a Washington D.C. based non-profit that advocates for greater gun control. Rand says the recent Seattle shootings are cases the Violence Policy Center will research in detail. She also notes car deaths have dropped significantly over the last decade because of strong federal regulations.

According to the State Department of Transportation, Oregon has one of the highest safety belt usage rates in the nation.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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