Gun violence vs terrorism: how the numbers in US stack up

Obama’s appeal to media to publish comparative figures has been answered

In his impassioned plea on Thursday in the wake of the Oregon school shooting for changes to American gun laws, US president Barack Obama laid down a challenge to media organisations.

He urged them to establish the number of Americans killed by terrorist attacks over the past 10 years and compare that with the numbers of those killed by domestic gun violence.

A number of media outlets responded on Friday. The news network NBC, citing figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Global Terrorism Database, said 153,144 people were killed in the US by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013. Over a slightly longer period (2001 to 2014), 3,046 died in the US in terrorist or possible terrorist attacks.

Newsweek said that in 2013 alone, 33,636 people in the US were killed by gun violence, more than all Americans killed inside the country by terrorists in the last 14 years – the September 11th attacks included.


The Washington Post said it was incontrovertible that guns killed many more Americans than terrorism. But, questioning the point Mr Obama was attempting to make, it added: "So do lots of other things."

Chris Dooley

Chris Dooley

Chris Dooley is Foreign Editor of The Irish Times