Barack Obama, in an emotional speech following the latest mass shooting in the US, asked the media to compare deaths from firearms and deaths specifically from terrorist attacks. Ten people, including the shooter, died at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. At least seven were wounded.
The US President, in an appeal for reform of laws on gun control, said: “We spent over a $1 trillion and passed countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. 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?”
Here are three charts which help to illustrate some disparities.
US deaths from terrorism versus US deaths from guns
Why is the red line flat? Because the numbers for terrorism deaths are relatively very low. By touching each spot on this chart with your cursor you can make the exact number appear.
This chart was compiled using data from US Department of State figures on domestic terrorism. The State Dept. is the equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries.
Figures on US deaths abroad were taken from the Global Terrorism Database. The US deaths from guns were taken from FBI figures on murders using firearms.
National Rifle Association expenditure on lobbying
US terrorism deaths in relation to domestic security spending
This compares US terrorism deaths (domestic and foreign) with spending by the US Department of Homeland Security.
While the department was set up after the 9/11 attacks and its task is to protect against terrorism, it is important to note that its work also centres around immigration, cyber crime and disaster management.
You can read the full transcript of Obama’s speech about the shooting here.