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926: US gun death toll since Sandy Hook

As the world looked on in horror at the savage shootings in the hilly Newtown community of Sandy Hook on 14 December, Robyn Griggs-Johnson was in the living room of her family home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

It was late in the day, hours after Adam Lanza opened fire on a group of defenceless children and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary. Ms Griggs-Johnson heard a knock at the door. When she opened the window to see who it was, she was shot, according to the local Michigan Live news website.

The case remains unresolved. A day later, as more details emerged from Newtown, a three-year-old boy in Guthrie, Oklahoma, was visiting his aunt and uncle when he reportedly found a loaded handgun in the their bedroom. He took hold of the weapon and accidentally shot himself in the head.

The deaths are among the hundreds of instances of gun-related fatalities cited by President Barack Obama this week as he unveiled the most far-reaching measures to stem gun violence in decades.

"In the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary, more than 900 of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun - 900 in the past month. And every day we wait, the number will keep growing," he said.

Updated figures on gun deaths are notoriously hard to come by. Estimates abound but since the summer, an anonymous Twitter account with the handle @GunDeaths has been harnessing the reach of social media to produce a real time tally.

The online magazine Slate has now teamed up with @GunDeaths to produce an updated counter of deaths since Newtown, which stood at 926 at the time of writing.

The Twitter initiative itself was motivated by another mass shooting, that in Aurora, Colorado, when James Holmes is alleged to have interrupted a midnight screening of the new Batman film with a hail of gunfire, killing 12 movie-goers.

The @GunDeaths account, meanwhile, was updated at least twice while this story was being written. There was news of a man who had died as a result apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in California on Tuesday, and of another man who had died after reportedly being shot as a result of a long-running family feud in Arkansas on Thursday last week.

Belfast Telegraph