The study’s author acknowledged a great deal of uncertainty about the proper figure, and some experts later questioned whether it’s wise to include so many deaths from disease — perhaps two-thirds of the 750,000 figure — since disease in an era of relatively primitive medicine was so widespread that it’s unclear what share of fatal disease during that period was really a result of the war.
And that’s using the most generous scholarly estimate of Civil War deaths, the biggest component of American war deaths. These figures refer to all gunfire-related deaths, not just homicides.
In fact, homicides represent a minority of gun deaths, with suicides comprising the biggest share.
The number of gun deaths since 1968 — including, as Kristof was careful to note, both homicides and suicides — was higher than war fatalities by roughly 120,000 deaths, or almost four years’ worth of gun deaths in the United States.
Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. Earlier in the night, I’d tweeted, citing a “senior White House official,” that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. But Scaramucci had his own question—for me.“Who leaked that to you? “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said.
One of them was: "More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history." That sounded familiar. As it turns out, the web version of Kristof’s column sourced a Politi Fact article from Jan.
18, 2013, that fact-checked commentator Mark Shields’ claim that since 1968, "more Americans have died from gunfire than died in …
He continued to press me and complain about the staff he’s inherited in his new job.
“I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said.
It was an interesting group, and raised some questions. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source.
He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff.
The one change we’ve made since our initial fact-check is to revise upward the number of Civil War deaths.