FACT CHECK: Cory Booker Claims U.S. Gun Deaths Exceed Deaths from All Wars

Booker gun deaths
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

CLAIM: On Wednesday Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said, “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.”


Booker was born in 1969 and claims more people have died via gun violence in the U.S. since that time than have died in all U.S. wars combined.

There are two immediate problems with Booker’s claim. First, it presumes that every firearm-related death is a death due to “gun violence.” In reality, about 66 percent of annual firearm-related deaths in the U.S. are suicides. Breitbart News has pointed this out again and again through the years.

Secondly, a claim similar to Booker’s has been made before, by Mike Bloomberg. It was false when Bloomberg made it and it is false now.

On July 29, 2017, Breitbart News noted Bloomberg’s claim the number of American gun deaths exceeds the entire history of American military deaths.

Bloomberg was operating on a theory that 31,000 Americans would die each year via “illegal guns.” He said, “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.”

Breitbart News pointed out that Bloomberg’s claim may have been based on Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP) numbers, which posited a figure of 836,290 “gun violence” deaths 1989-2014.

The 836,290 figure is far too high, as it would lump in suicides together with actual “gun violence” deaths. But for the sake of argument, even if the figure of 836,290 was accepted and Bloomberg’s 31,000 additional, 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.

Even then, the figure of 1,053,290 is almost surpassed by the U.S. deaths suffered in the Civil War and World War II alone.

Think about this: 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 that is without considering the deaths from the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Spanish / American War, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other conflicts.

Sen. Booker’s claim is false.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. AWR Hawkins holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.  


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