A theoretical one metric ton (2679.23 lbs, about 320 pounds lighter than my Chevy S10) vehicle traveling at ten meters a second (about 22 mph) has 50,000 joules of energy. I’ll admit that I used this theoretical vehicle because I wanted a nice round number.
A 180 grain 30-06 rifle (Hornady 30-06 Springfield 180 gr. InterLock® SP) bullet traveling at 822.96 mps (2700 feet per second) has 3948.44 joules of energy.
A 240 grain 44. Magnum (Black Hills Ammunition, 44 Magnum 240 gr. JHP) pistol bullet traveling at 384.05 mps (1260 fps) has 1146.77 joules of energy.
Why then, can I buy and drive a car at 16, but have to wait until I turn 18 to buy a rifle, and until I turn 21 to buy a pistol?
For those who wish to quote death statistics, I’ve got a few from the CDC.
According to CDC’s WISQARS site, unintentional motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of accidental death in 2009 with 34,485 deaths, while firearms are the number 16 cause of accidental death with 554 fatalities.
Even with firearm suicides (18,735) and homicides (11,493) added to the firearm accidents, the total comes to 30,785, 3700 less than car accidents alone. No matter how you look at it, firearms are less deadly than cars.