President Obama has challenged the media to tally the number of Americans who died over the last decade from gun violence and the number who died in terrorist attacks.
In an impassioned speech Thursday following the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., Obama said the U.S. rightly spends more than a trillion dollars, passes countless laws and devotes entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on the nation’s soil.
“And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?” the visibly angry commander-in-chief asked.
NBC News reports — citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — that an estimated 153,144 people died in homicides involving firearms between 2001 and 2013. The Global Terrorism Database estimates that 3,046 people died on U.S. soil in terrorist or possible terrorist attacks from 2001 to 2014, according to the network. Most of those deaths occurred on 9/11.
Data from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that there have been more than 10,000 firearm homicides every year since at least 1993.
Vox created an interactive chart to illustrate this disparity, using information from the Justice Department, the State Department and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates for “public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and help save lives,” says the shooting at Umpqua Community College is the 45th school shooting in the U.S. so far in 2015, and the 142nd school shooting since 20 children and six adults were killed at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.
Obama noted Thursday that the federal government responds to make lives safer when Americans are killed in other tragedies, such as natural disasters or automobile accidents.
“So the notion that gun violence is somehow different,” he continued, “that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations, doesn’t make sense.”