“More People Die from Guns Than Car Accidents in Michigan.”

So states a Detroit Free Press op-ed headline. . . . But wait: The number of accidental gun deaths in Michigan in 2009 (the most recent year reported in WISQARS) was … 12, compared to 962 accidental motor-vehicle-related deaths. 99% of the gun deaths in Michigan that year consisted of suicides (575) and homicides (495).

Now say what you will about whether some gun control laws might reduce suicides or homicides, but it’s extremely unlikely that any “safety-related changes” or “regulat[ions] … for health and safety” are going to eliminate all but a tiny fraction of those suicides and homicides, which are overwhelmingly intentional acts by people who are willing to kill and are unlikely to be stopped by “regulat[ion] by the federal government for health and safety.” Yet curiously the op-ed says nothing about how few of the gun deaths were accidental, and how few homicides or suicides could be prevented by “safety-related changes” along the lines of the safety regulations imposed on cars.

This also helps explain, I think, why gun rights supporters are so worried about “health and safety” proposals. Precisely because such proposals are so unlikely to have much of an effect, the gun rights supporters naturally assume that the backers of the proposals aren’t really after modest car-like “regulat[ions] … for health and safety,” but are actually trying to bring about much more aggressive sorts of gun restrictions.

Indeed. Especially when such proposals are advanced so dishonestly.