Friday, February 08, 2013
The statistic that caught even pro-gun control supporters by surprise.
And so did the folks over at Politifact:
Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., supporters and opponents of gun control have thrown out statistics to support their point of view.
Here’s one that caught our eye, offered by liberal commentator Mark Shields on the Dec. 21, 2012, edition of the PBS NewsHour.
Shields told host Judy Woodruff, "You know, Judy, the reality is -- and it's a terrible reality -- since Robert Kennedy died in the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, more Americans have died from gunfire than died in … all the wars of this country's history, from the Revolutionary through the Civil War, World War I, World War II, in those 43 years. ... I mean, guns are a problem. And I think they still have to be confronted."
We found a comprehensive study of war-related deaths published by the Congressional Research Service on Feb. 26, 2010, and we supplemented that with data for deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan using the website icasualties.org. Where possible, we’ve used the broadest definition of "death" -- that is, all war-related deaths, not just those that occurred in combat.
The number of deaths from gunfire is a bit more complicated to total. Two Internet-accessible data sets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allow us to pin down the number of deaths from 1981 to 1998 and from 1999 to 2010. We’ve added FBI figures for 2011, and we offer a number for 1968 to 1980 using a conservative estimate of data we found in a graph in this 1994 paper published by the CDC.
So they did the research and after combing through the statistics, this was their finding:
With about 1.4 million firearm deaths to 1.2 million in war, we rated his claim True.
Essentially 1,171,177 Americans have lost their lives while fighting in EVERY SINGLE war fought by this country including the Revolutionary War, while an incredible 1,384,171 have died due to gun violence since the death of Robert Kennedy. And that really only covers 2011 and does NOT take into account the loss of life during our most recent shootings.
So the statistic which a number of people, on both sides of the debate, scoffed at, turns out to be frighteningly accurate.