The number of Americans killed from gun violence since last December’s shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn. has surpassed the total number of U.S. military casualties during the nine-year war in Iraq.
According to Slate’s gun deaths project, which has been tallying the total number killed from gun violence less than six months ago, there have been 4,499 gun deaths in the U.S. The Defense Department has counted 4,409 U.S. armed forces killed in the Iraq war.
The news of the gun death toll since the 20 children and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School comes a week after the Violence Policy Center released a state-by-state analysis of government data comparing firearm deaths and motor vehicle deaths. The study showed that gun-related fatalities exceeded motor vehicle deaths in 12 states and the District of Columbia during 2010, the latest year for which data are available.
In 2010, there were 31,672 firearm deaths and 35,498 motor vehicle deaths across the nation, compared to 28,874 firearm deaths and 42,624 motor vehicle deaths in 1999.
An average of 32 people (including 8 children and teens under the age of 20) are killed from guns every day, according to the Brady Campaign. And on average, the pro-gun control group has found that U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are comparable in wealth and population.
The Newtown tragedy prompted calls for tighter gun control, and the death toll of gun violence compared to the death toll from a nine-year war in Iraq is striking. Gun control advocacy groups like Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ PAC, Americans For Responsible Solutions, have targeted Republican lawmakers who struck down a bill that aimed to expand background checks. One of the bill’s authors, Sen. Joe Manchin, has pledged to re-introduce the bill on the Senate floor.