How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?

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Sept. 16 2013 3:34 PM

How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?

Slate partners with @GunDeaths for an interactive, crowdsourced tally of the toll firearms have taken since Dec. 14.

The answer to the simple question in that headline is surprisingly hard to come by. So Slate is collecting data for our crowdsourced interactive. This data is necessarily incomplete (click here to see why, and to learn more about @GunDeaths, the Twitter user who helped us create this interactive). But the more people who are paying attention, the better the data will be. You can help us draw a more complete picture of gun violence in America. If you know about a gun death in your community that isn’t represented here, please email a link to a news report to slatedata@gmail.com. And if you’d like to use this data yourself for your own projects, it’s open. You can download it here.

Update, Dec. 31, 2013: After a year of gun deaths, Slate is retiring this project. The count is being picked up by Michael Klein's Gun Violence Archive project, launching soon. Thank you to all who volunteered to make the data as comprehensive and accurate as possible.

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Click a marker below to filter incidents by that location. Shows only the 1,000 locations with the most deaths.

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Matched Deaths: or more between Newtown and Dec. 31, 2013

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Each person under 13 years of age is designated "child"; from 13 to 17: "teen"; 18 and older: "adult."

The same icons used to represent males is also used to represent individuals of unknown gender. The same icons used to represent adults is also used to represent people of unknown age group.

The yellow and blue backgrounds represent alternating days.

The information is collected by volunteers from news reports about the deaths. The Slate interactives team and these volunteers continually manage and revise the data.

The data are not comprehensive because not all gun-related deaths are reported by the news media. For example, suicides often go unreported.

Update, June 19, 2013: As time goes on, our count gets further and further away from the likely actual number of gun deaths in America—because roughly 60 percent of deaths by gun are due to suicides, which are very rarely reported. When discussing this issue, please note that our number is by design not accurate and represents only the number of gun deaths that the media can find out about contemporaneously. Part of the purpose of this interactive is to point out how difficult it is to get accurate real-time numbers on this issue.

Using the most recent CDC estimates for yearly deaths by guns in the United States, it is likely that as of today, , roughly people have died from guns in the U.S. since the Newtown shootings. Compare that number to the number of deaths reported in the news in our interactive below, and you can see how undertold the story of gun violence in America actually is.

Update, June 17, 2013: Slate launched its interactive feature “Gun Deaths in America Since Newtown” on Dec. 21, 2012, partnering with the creator of the Twitter feed @GunDeaths to assemble data on confirmed, reported gun-related fatalities in the United States since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. As of mid-May, 2013, @GunDeaths has stepped away from the project, graciously ceding the Twitter feed and responsibility for the interactive to Slate. We are deeply grateful to that Twitter user for helping us create and maintain this interactive for so long. The best way to alert us to reported deaths is by sending a link to slatedata@gmail.com; please do check the interactive to confirm it’s not listed already. Because email is more efficient a means of collecting this information than Twitter, we may very well miss information tweeted at @GunDeaths – please use email to ensure your story will be counted.

As time goes on, our count gets further and further away from the likely actual number of gun deaths in America—because roughly 60 percent of deaths by gun are due to suicides, which are very rarely reported. When discussing this issue, please note that our number is by design not accurate and only represents the number of gun deaths that the media can find out about contemporaneously. Part of the idea of this interactive is to point out how difficult it is to get accurate real-time numbers on this issue—and our inaccurate real-time number reflects that difficulty.

—Dan Kois, senior editor, Slate

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