Wednesday on Twitter, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) falsely claimed, “We have more people in America that have died in my short lifetime due to gun violence than in every single one of our wars.”
Breitbart News reports that there are two problems with this claim from Booker, who was born in 1969. First, it presumes that every firearm-related death is a death due to “gun violence.” In fact, about 66 percent of annual firearm-related deaths in the U.S. are suicides.
Second, Mike Bloomberg has made a similar claim, and it too is false. On July 29, 2017, Bloomberg claimed, “There have been more people killed with illegal handguns than soldiers that have died since the Revolutionary War through today in defense of our country.” He was operating on the theory that 31,000 Americans would die each year via “illegal guns.”
His claim may have been based on Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP) numbers, which posited a figure of 836,290 “gun violence” deaths from 1989-2014.
This figure lumps in suicides with actual “gun violence” deaths. But even if it were correct and Bloomberg’s 31,000 annual “gun violence” deaths were added–an additional 217,000 deaths for the years 2015-2022–the overall “gun violence” death figure would be 1,053,290. That figure is almost surpassed by the U.S. deaths suffered in the Civil War and World War II alone.
Over 600,000 Americans were killed in the Civil War. Approximately 115,000 were killed in World War I, 418,000 in World War II, 35,000 in the Korean War, and over 58,000 in the Vietnam War. That brings us to at least 1,226,000 American military deaths and omits deaths from the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other conflicts.