More Children Have Been Killed by Guns Since Sandy Hook Than U.S. Soldiers in Combat Since 9/11

The number of children killed by gunfire in the U.S. since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, surpasses the total of American soldiers killed in overseas combat since 9/11, 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 attacks through 10 a.m. EST Thursday, March 15. 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 the 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. 

GettyImages-87899765 An analysis of gun-related deaths among children and a new report by the Department of Defense shows that more kids have been killed by gunfire since the Sandy Hook massacre than the number of U.S. soldiers killed overseas since 9/11. David McNew/Getty Images

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.

Related: Kids and guns: Here’s how easy it is for children to get their hands on a firearm

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 this 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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