Gun violence has killed 428 times more Americans over the past decade than terrorism, new research has found.
The stats were requested by US president Barack Obama after yesterday's tragic Umpqua Community College massacre – the 142nd mass shooting since 2012's Sandy Hook – in a bid to stress the urgency of new gun control legislation.
“Tally up the number of Americans who have been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who have been killed by gun violence and post those side-by-side on your news reports,” Obama challenged media outlets and news organisations last night.
“We spend over $1 trillion and pass countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil — and rightfully so — and yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”
According to the requested findings from the Global Terrorism Database and Gun Violence Archive, the number of gun deaths in 2015 so far is already much, much larger than the number of deaths from terrorism between 1970 and 2014.
And, even more shockingly, gun violence still accounts for 50 times more American deaths even when 9/11 is taken into account – which killed more than 2900 people and is considered one of the most deadly terrorist attacks in history. See a summary of the data below:
The findings are limited to gun homicides, and discount other gun deaths, such as suicides or accidents. They do, however, use a much broader definition of terrorism – and include attacks where terrorist links are doubted.
“What's become routine of course is the response of those who oppose any kind of commonsense gun legislation," Obama added. “Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out. 'We need more guns', they'll argue. 'Fewer gun safety laws'. Does anybody really believe that?”
“We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths... There is a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in America. So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer?”