Gunfire has killed more children in the U.S. since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School than all American soldiers killed in overseas combat since 9/11 combined, according to a Department of Defense report.
The report accounts for total deaths in the five military operations since the war on terror began following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks through 10 a.m. EST Thursday. Over 17 years of combat, the U.S. has lost 6,929 soldiers. Including Department of Defense civilians killed overseas, that number grows to 6,950.
In the five years and three months since December 14, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders and six adults with an AR-15-style rifle, about 7,000 children have died by gunfire. Though the exact figure is unclear, it rivals the tally of U.S. military deaths overseas in 11 fewer years.
On Tuesday, a global activist group placed 7,000 pairs of empty shoes outside the Capitol building—one pair for each child killed by a gun since Sandy Hook. The group, Avaaz, arrived at that figure based of an American Academy of Pediatrics report, which said about 1,300 children are killed by guns every year.
At that rate, the number of children killed by guns since Newtown would be about 6,825. But an analysis by the fact-checking site Snopes of the the Center for Disease Control and Prevention data—which the American Academy Pediatrics cited in its report—found that that figure may be low.
According to Snopes, a review of deaths for children 17 or younger for years 2013 to 2016 (2017 was not yet available), found 5,683 firearms-related deaths, or an average of 1,421 per year. Extrapolated over the five-year and three-month period, the tally is about 7,460, Snopes found.
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