Gun Death Statistics Show 13,000 Dead This Year—but Government Does Nothing

Gun violence statistics get passed around after every mass shooting, but they're not always accurate. Scott Barbour/Getty

More than 13,000 people have died from gun violence in the U.S. this year alone—far more than have perished due to terrorism, drunken driving and HIV/AIDS, all of which have triggered national concern and government action. But lawmakers' responses to gun deaths pale in comparison.

The government's reaction to incidents like Sunday's mass shooting in a small-town Texas church is so subdued that even Kim Kardashian had to call out our leaders, in the form of (what else?) a tweet reminding that "one shoe bomber tried to blow up a plane and now we take off our shoes. 1,520 mass shootings since Sandy Hook and Congress has done NOTHING."

Related: Hours after Sutherland Springs shooting, Texas official says more guns in church are the answer

Indeed, Congress has rejected more than 100 gun control proposals since 2011, according to CBS News. Despite calls for action after mass shootings like the one that left 20 children dead in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 or the one that became the country's deadliest in Las Vegas last month, little is happening.

Compare that with Americans' responses to other tragic trends:


Americans have been on high alert since 9/11, when extremists killed 2,977 people in New York City. The attack sparked immediate change: President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Safety Administration. Bush approved the USA PATRIOT Act, allowing authorities to search people's homes and businesses, and the FISA Amendments Act, giving law enforcement permission to wiretap citizens.

All that despite the fact that, according to the New America Foundation, jihadis killed 95 people on American soil in the 16 years after 9/11.

Drunken Driving

The consequences for driving while intoxicated are strict: All 50 states have implemented a legal limit of .08 percent blood alcohol concentration for drivers. People under 21 face zero-tolerance policies nationwide, and individual states have felony driving-under-the-influence laws.

On a more social level, the Ad Council started the "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk" ad campaign in 1983, and since then, nearly 70 percent of Americans have attempted to stop a peers from driving drunk. Police do sobriety checkpoints, and car companies have begun to install high-tech ignition interlocks that stop drivers from getting behind the wheel when impaired.

In 2015, alcohol-related crashes killed about 10,300 people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The AIDS epidemic may have reached its peak before the turn of the century, but there are still nearly 70 laws on the books concerning people living with HIV, according to the CDC. People have to tell their sexual partners about their HIV status—the Ohio Supreme Court just upheld such legislation in a decision on October 27. In 2013, President Barack Obama signed a law undoing a 1988 policy forbidding HIV patients from donating their organs. Not only are such surgeries now legal, but researchers can also study them.

In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, the CDC says 6,721 deaths were linked directly to HIV.


There aren't many, if any, deaths connected to cybersecurity in the U.S., but government is spending a lot to combat it. In 2015, Obama's budget proposal earmarked $14 billion to prevent various networks from being hacked, and earlier this year, President Donald Trump requested $1.5 billion to help the Department of Homeland Security stop cyberattacks.

In May, Trump signed an executive order to strengthen federal networks. A month earlier, he undid an Obama executive order making it harder for mentally ill people to buy guns.

These issues all have lower casualty counts than gun violence does, but they receive far more attention from the government. If Kim K. is asking why that is, Congress may want to do the same.