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More Americans killed in gun deaths than in terrorist attacks

January 15th, 2013
07:17 PM ET

Guns kill more than terrorism

Mother of Virgina Tech student

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. 

RELATED: Getting a gun in Japan

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.’”

READ MORE: The risk of daring to disagree with the NRA

Filed under:  Gun Control • Latest Episode
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Jaime Daniel

    Another anti 2nd amendment post by CNN masquerading as information, go figure.

    The number of automobile deaths in the US is 1 in 10,000 giving us a grand total of over 31,000 in 2011. That's right, 3 times more than all gun murders. 75% of which are gang on gang related deaths.

    BTW, in the stat CNN used showing 31,672 gun deaths in the US, they fail to mention that 20,000 of them are suicides. If you take away ALL the guns suicides will still happen. I wish for once the news media would stop twisting the stats to fit their political agenda.

    January 15, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • robert

      So you must agree then with gun control since there are a number of laws and restrictions on car ownership and lawful use. For example you can't drive a military tank on city roads. Government and vehicle manufacturers are constantly working to reduce vehicle deaths. Since you made the comparison I am guessing you are supporting the government take a similar approach to gun regulations.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • Mat

      The statistic that I saw was that 83% of all gun deaths are from suicide. However, I have seen some statistics that put it much closer to half. Either way though suicides is the leading contributor to gun deaths in the U.S. It is disgusting seeing the media pushing for gun control using tactics that discredit their self professed journalistic integrity. It is just another demonstration of why you must seek out and find the answers to your questions on your own, because the media is not unbiased or void of an agenda.

      January 17, 2013 at 8:17 am | Reply
      • Ron

        The problem is in trying to find good statistics. We have 31,600 gun deaths and over 8,000 murders with firearms. That means that the other 23,000 are suicide, accidents, etc. But I haven't been able to find a breakdown. If half of the original number are suicides, that's about 16,000, which leaves 7,000 unaccounted for. For example, it would be interesting to know what percentage was intruders or other criminals shot in self-defense, as opposed to family members shot in the mistaken belief that THEY were intruders.

        February 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • rext

      Hey, since when are automobiles constructed to kill people? They are accidents, fool, gun deaths are from GUNS which are MADE to KILL people, on purpose, not by accident, by the nature of their construction. You are as ignorant as any NRA member who actually thinks you can compare cars to guns....

      February 13, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  2. Jack Ahearn

    Baseball bats kill more people than assault rifles( media term,not correct)Try watching NEWSROOM on HBO and learn how to do some truthful reporting.

    January 15, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Reply
    • robert

      Mr. Hernia, please site me an example of a person with a baseball bat killing a dozen or more people in one assault? The downside to being an id10t is that you are the last to know.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Reply
      • Beth

        You, sir, are quite a man. One who obvious has no respect for others–You call people cowards, irrational, and other degrading things. What gives you the "right" to use such language against others who disagree with you. In looking into your words and thoughts, you must be the irrational one. If given a gun, would you go shoot others? Why would you believe that of many others. If you honestly look at numbers and statistics, most gun related deaths are not by civilized people shooting others. If you are pushing for such legislation on guns, why are you not asking for a ban/legislation on cell phones. Do you know how many people are killed every year because of driving while talking or texting. Your ignorance of the subject is appalling to those who are decent hardworking and just want to protect their families. Get over yourself and use common decency and arm yourself with true knowledge.

        January 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
  3. Goh Figyer

    Hey, Jack-A-hernia, baseball bats don't kill people; people wielding guns kill people. Isn't that the 2nd amendment's bottom line? The right to keep and bear arms so you can kill people. What would even be the point of keeping and bearing arms unless you also acknowledge the PURPOSE of doing so? What's that you say? Only people kill people? Then I guess you don't need guns, since the ENTIRE POINT in the first place is to kill people!

    January 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Reply
    • Juliemac

      Only 300 killed by long rifle, Many more than that, by knives and clubs.
      Before you post, get the REAL facts and do some thinking.

      By the way you spelled the original posters name, you must be 12 right?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Reply
      • robert

        @Juliemac, look up the fallacy of the perfect solution. Understand that you are irrational and are part of the problem.

        January 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  4. Devin

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    Do you really need the government to protect and babysit you? No. Face reality that the only person good enough for your safety is YOU. Cops can't be there right away. Let me also understand this... you want to make the citizens less powerful. The Second Amendment was there to protect citizens against a tyrannical government and also personal use. If Americans only had flintlock pistols during the American Revolution, would they have won? No. If guns kill people, then guns killed Osama Bin Laden. The reason people want gun control, is because they are scared. "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." Why would you fear healthy, strong, Americans who know their guns inside and out while defending our liberty?

    January 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Reply
    • Harry Profane

      Who is more scared, those who are sick & tired of hearing about daily gun violence, or those who fear their government is in cahoots with a NWO to enslave and then murder them?

      January 15, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Reply
      • Hegesias

        Who is dumber, those who realize that our government is driving towards a New World Order in which a global elite has complete control of the world population through its purveyors of violence or those who think things like 9/11, the Gulf of Tonkin, intelligence on Iraqi WMDs, curveball, Newtown, Oklahoma City, the 1993 WTC bombing (clearly linked to the FBI), 7/7/04 in London, Iran Contra, the small plane crash that killed Michael Connell, and the release of Iranian hostages on the day Reagan took office were just random, unrelated events?

        January 16, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Erna
      Your rights are in no way infringed by gun regulation. It was put there to control slaves, you just make it into what ever suits your agenda.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:21 am | Reply
    • Kynt

      "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

      Been to an airport lately?

      I consider my right for intimacy and privacy a much more essential liberty than my right to be an armed civilian in a civilized society.

      How comes that quote always comes up as pro-gun argument, but never against all the privacy violations and cuts to civil liberties in the name of "war against terror"?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Reply
    • scarf

      An NRA paraphrasing of another quote from Revolutionary times:

      The Tree of Gun Rights mush periodically be refreshed with the blood of innocents.

      January 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  5. Ajax

    So why are we spending billions on terrorism?

    January 16, 2013 at 10:20 am | Reply
  6. Hao So

    More people are killed by automobiles than terrorists and guns put together,
    and the FBI is the #1 sponsor of terrorist plots in the US
    (as most FBI convictions involve domestic stings that target mental defectives rather than chasing global armed terrorists).

    January 16, 2013 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • scarf

      Fortunately, paranoia should be detected in the mental health checks on people who want to own guns.

      January 16, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  7. AR-15

    "Guns kill more people than terrorism" Don't tell the terrorist this...,or the troops in Afganistan,,,They may want to stay there for there own safety....That"s the silliest thing I"ve read today...............

    January 16, 2013 at 11:09 am | Reply
    • gtrl99

      It may be silly, but it's true. Do a little footwork. I did and the stats which I found on my own surprised and saddened me.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  8. TH

    People People!! Inanimate Objects DON'T KILL PEOPLE; PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 16, 2013 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • Vince

      I agree, but I'd rather take my chances against a guy shooting at me with a six shooter than a rapid firing semi-auto with a 30 round clip.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • robert

      So it is OK if we all have nukes then because nukes don't kill people, people kill people...with nukes.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  9. AR-15

    It"s not a big deal....Our countrys population is still growing faster than people dieing of old age,,,cancer ,,,murder,,etc.,,,etc.,,,, When the population begins to decrease,,,than I'll become concerned...Until than,,,I don"t care

    January 16, 2013 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • Frank

      I'll bet you would care if it was a member of your own family who got shot. Yeah. I think you would care then.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:49 am | Reply
  10. Simon

    I know CNN used to be known as Clinton News Network, is it now the Cowards News Network? Automobiles and drunken driving kill more Americans than guns. So what do the liberals want to do about that? It is easy to maneuver a high-speed vehicle into a crowd of people or school kids and kill them.

    By liberal logic, all vehicles should not have the ability to travel over 70 miles per hour. Why do Hollywood liberals purchase cars that can operate over 70 miles per hour? It is a killing machine, you know, that can be used to cause havoc.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • robert

      A coward is someone who thinks he needs guns to protect himself from the world.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Reply
    • Wm.Russ Martin

      I have an idea: Let's regulate automobile ownership and require proper training and insurance. Oh wait.
      So, are you saying that guns should be as regulated as automobiles? Thanks, you are now part of the solution instead of being the problem. Kudos.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  11. rexedie

    its easier to kill with a gun....get it... you could use anything... bats knives cars....2×4...on and on .... but if you want to kill more than one person at a time...get something that can rapid fire.... gun idiots just do get it...

    January 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • jim

      we need to ban pressure cookers and pipes

      December 11, 2015 at 8:56 am | Reply
  12. Don Jose

    Let's face it. The NRA enables and promotes domestic terrorism. The NRA is far more effective when it comes to killing Americans than Al Quaida.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  13. ConcernedCitizen

    What a bunch of idiots. I hope those screaming in favor of legally owning those assault weapons have their children shot exclusively. You guys are morons. The economy is collapsing, but we'd rather worry about the meaningless gun control laws and lance armstrongs doping use. America is turning into a third world country.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  14. Bernard B.

    On the recent issue of whether or not to arm teachers, what kind of consequences should they face if they have to shoot down one of their own students? What kind of educational atmosphere would we create if they must consider their own students as potential violent criminals? That's hardly a healthy one, in my opinion

    January 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  15. Hegesias

    Did anyone even imply that "terrorism" wasn't a phony emergency drummed up by PNAC to legitimate for TV-watching American retards that complete military and economic domination of the world was equivalent to "freedumb"? The comparison is a non-starter unless you're the type of TV-watching retard that watches CNN.

    January 16, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  16. Madugu Henry Sesugh

    Woo on to them that the shade innocent blood.Cudos to America,continue the figth.

    January 17, 2013 at 3:40 am | Reply
  17. Frank

    You mean you've just found this out.!?

    When it comes to killing civilians terrorists have got nothing on the American gun toting public.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • rob

      Yet Russia had nearly 16,000 homicides in 2011 compared to the U.S. 12,500. Russia has very strict gun laws by the way. You can say that the NRA and other second amendment advocates lead to the killing of people but you would also have to say that they save peoples lives as well. So instead of just throwing out ignorant, unproductive comments, lets use some empirical evidence and logical reasoning in your next comment in order to give you some validity.

      December 1, 2014 at 2:28 am | Reply
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    January 24, 2013 at 6:43 am | Reply
  19. Rick

    How come no one is discussing the economic causes of gun violence?

    January 29, 2013 at 7:57 am | Reply
  20. Gary

    where did the VPC get their statistics? do you feel this is irresponsible reporting? in fact, tom diaz is who gave you your statistic and you yourself said he isnt even involved with vpc anymore. so your sensationalized slanted report is from somebody who doesnt even have a job? w2g cnn!!! this is why people are turning away from you when it comes to getting their news!

    February 13, 2013 at 8:49 am | Reply
  21. James

    I find these statistics extremely suspects, but the fact that more people die from gun violence in the US than terrorism is far from surprising. in 2001 about 3,000 people died the US has killed more than ten times that including enlisted soldiers, terrorists, and civilians. Every years about 10,000 people die from guns every year in the US. I'm not saying this is acceptable. I am saying this is a non story. The NRA has way too much power. Private companies have way too much a stake in foreign policy and war to be trusted. The entire United States is a flawed empire. This article is just annother company trying to make their mark. Nothing short of self interest.

    March 21, 2013 at 2:03 am | Reply
  22. Fellow Traveler

    Just wanted to point out that banning guns will INCREASE the number of gun deaths, and legalizing guns will DECREASE the number of gun deaths. See chart:

    June 15, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Reply
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  25. Marko

    Gang bangers account for many gun homicides. We could place their gangs on the terrorist list but that wouldn't be PC.

    May 6, 2014 at 7:37 am | Reply
  26. Bill

    OK lets forget the terrorist line on this thing. EVEN THOUGH in 20 10 we killed over 2.4 times as many people here in the US with guns than the terrorists did in THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!! with a fricking war going on in in Afghanistan AND Iraq.


    But why let that go ......... because in the same year 2010 we killed 33,687 people with our AUTOMOBILES!!!!!!! That's a difference of only 2,015 (5.9%) less.

    To be perfectly honest these numbers ABSOLUTELY BLEW MY MIND!!!. I had no idea the gun deaths were so high (BAD) and that the auto numbers were so low ( i was thinking around 50,000)

    So what right, what's my point???????



    OK I apologize for yelling. But lets talk here. in most area's you have to pass drivers ed in High School TO PASS HIGH SCHOOL. Then you take a written driving test which includes ALL the various requirements of the proper use of the vehicle you wish to use. different classes of vehicles have different tests which are based on how much damage those vehicles can do if misused. most of us get passenger vehicle licenses which must be retested every 5 years or so while truckers and better have to retested every year. Also if you are a trucker and you want to carry anything REALLY dangerous you have to get special training and licensing as well as background checks and the likes. We don't want just anybody driving 25 tons of explosives around. Then you get your eyes tested and have your ACTUAL driving skills tested by a government tester. Some of you have failed it. either the written or the practical. It happens.

    OK you get your license. Now your driving. Everywhere you go there are restrictions on the use of your vehicle. Speed limits, no right turns, no left turns, school zones, no stopping/standing, NO CARS ALLOWED.

    Oh SNAP I FORGOT!!!!! The government FORCES you to have INSURANCE on your vehicle ("Obama can't force us to have Medical insurance!!!!!") SORRYYY I digress but yes, we are FORCED to have insurance on the bullet we drive around every day. How many of you want to pay the HUGE fines for not having it. Up to and including loosing your driving privileges.

    If you break those rules the cops are ready willing and able to pull you over and give you a ticket, take away your vehicle and arrest you.

    SOOO what am I saying here?

    First for those who don't know me well a little Background. I am a Navy Submarine veteran. Sonar Tech Submarines, Submarine Qualified. 4 1/2 years underway underwater. But that wasn't my goal. I wanted to be a Navy Seal Sniper with a second in explosives. Unfortunately Ronnie Reagan (i voted for him every time) Needed STS's more than seals so i was not allowed to try out (BOY WAS HE WRONG) In High school I was on the ROTC rifle team for 4 years shooting every day for at least 45 min. I LOVE GUNS. I also know what they do. I know EXACTLY what they do.

    Now there are many areas in this nation with rather draconian (2nd Amendmenters words) gun laws. I should know. I am a born and bred Chicagoan (CUBS FAN(shut up i was born within a mile of Wrigley)) There are also those who live in area's where all you need to buy 1,5 or a dozen M16's at a gun show is a good 5 day stubble, cash and a pulse(optional). By the way that is where a lot of the bad guys in Chicago get their guns. they send people across the country to places where they can get them and bring them back to my home town. At a HUGE profit.

    Look at the stat in the pic in the article. 85% agree with background checks. We have background checks to see who can carry guns in their trucks but on who can buy those guns.

    Waiting periods. The mentally ill (background check) buy who did the Batman Movie Massacre (i can't remember exactly but i think it was 87 hits in 150 seconds with 3 different weapons) bought all 3 of those weapons LEGALLY within 40 days of the incident. would a 60 or 90 day waiting period have made a difference? He was looking for help but could not find a bed. Maybe he could have found one with more time.

    Ban High capacity magazines. Again look to the stats. OK were down to 54% for 40% against. Now back to Batman. His first weapon was a shotgun, no affect. His second weapon was basically an M16 with a 100 ROUND MAGAZINE. I didn't know they made those. Obviously they do. LUCKILY it jammed after only 45 shots. He must have only had one because he changed to a Glock 9Mil with 15 shot mags. The Cops recovered 3 spent mags on the floor of the theater. By the official timeline the perp spent 150 seconds in action. He hit 89 times. In a previous post i did the numbers of what would have been the affect of 10 round mags. Using a VERY optimistic view he would only have hit 52 times a 42% reduction. in all probability he would have hit much less.

    This is what you sheeple who believe the crap the NRA is shoving down your throat.

    For those of you who are veterans, ESPECIALLY those in the army or marines who know far better than I how long it REALLY takes to reload and reacquire a target, i wonder why it is you think it necessary to hunt with an M16. Who really needs a 50 cal sniper rifle?

    September 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm | Reply
    • Dean B

      From a Brit, that was an excellent post Bill.

      August 11, 2015 at 9:09 am | Reply
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