By Samuel Burke, CNN
It has now been one month since the grieving families of Newtown, Connecticut put their children on the school bus, only to have them never return.
Teachers, of course, were victims too - but all of the lives lost in that American school massacre are just a small fraction of the total number of gun deaths in the United States.
In fact, the number of Americans killed in guns deaths is far larger than the number of those killed in terrorist attacks around the world every year.
In 2010, 13,186 people died in terrorist attacks worldwide; in that same year, in America alone, 31,672 people lost their lives in gun-related deaths, according to numbers complied by Tom Diaz – until recently, a senior analyst at the Violence Policy Center.
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While the United States government has invested more than half a trillion dollars on homeland security since the September 11,, 2001 attacks, according to the Congressional Budget Office, there has been practically no effort to deter gun violence.
“I think it stems from the fact that most Americans of good will simply do not know how many of their fellow [citizens] are killed every day and every week by guns in America,” Diaz told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview Tuesday.
Diaz was a gun enthusiast and a member of the NRA, who changed his position after he interviewed gun victims and their families while working on gun legislation as a Congressional staffer. He now is now a proponent for gun safety laws.
Government research on gun related deaths has diminished over the years and become more difficult to access, which Diaz claimed has been deliberately engineered by the gun lobby.
“[The NRA and the gun industry] tried to eliminate the unit in the Centers for Disease Control that did this research and then what they really did is just cut their funding out.” Diaz also said those pro-gun groups have stopped the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from revealing data to the public.
Despite the gun lobby’s efforts, the majority of Americans support some type of gun control, according to the latest Pew Research Center poll. 82% favor background checks, 55% favor a ban on assault-style weapons, and 54% favor a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.
Diaz believes there is virtually no chance the NRA will propose or favor some type of solution that limits access to guns or ammunition.
“Wayne LaPierre, who is the executive director, has said there are no shades of grey in this debate. ‘You are either with us or against.’ And the NRA’s consistent position – long standing for at least two decade – has been, ‘We will not compromise on any gun control legislation.’”
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