The topic of gun control never fully cools down in the United States, but President Obama brought the discussion to even greater heights with his gun control executive order, which he announced after breaking down in tears at a January press conference. In response, the National Rifle Association was predictably ticked off, and Obama slammed the idea that he’s taking guns away as “a conspiracy.”
So, the gun control debate will never go away, not even if the U.S. were to completely switch gears and adopt Australian gun laws (which will never happen). The effects of Obama’s plan will take years to measure, but the Virginia Center for Public Safety recently made a sobering claim:
“Since John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, more Americans have died by gunfire within our own country than American servicemen and women who were killed in all our wars.”
To be clear, the claim involves all military conflicts that have seen United States participation, both on and off soil, going back to our country’s inception. In response to this enormous assertion, Politifact put on its research gloves and found that these claims were completely true. Even including the Civil War (which racked up the greatest loss of lives of any U.S. conflict), the total number of lives lost in U.S. wars is 1.4 million. Whereas the total number of lives lost through gunfire is 1.5 million.
Actually, the number is probably greater than 1.5 million, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only started keeping mortality rate figures for U.S. gunfire deaths in 1968, so there’s a full four unaccounted years at work. Politifact believes the number is closer to 1.6 million U.S. deaths by gunfire. That’s an all-too sobering truth.