On Tuesday night, the nine highest polling Republican presidential candidates stood together on stage and argued about national security.
Donald Trump reiterated his belief that the U.S. should kill the families of suspected terrorists. Jeb Bush, who has called Trump an "unserious" candidate, criticized the current Republican frontrunner for calling for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. while failing to mention that he had proposed banning Muslim refugees from entering the country. Ben Carson, who had previously said that he would not "advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” said he didn't have time to worry if people thought he was Islamaphobic. Ted Cruz talked about purple unicorns.
No one talked about guns.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2001 and 2013, 406,496 people died by firearms, including homicides, suicides, and accidental gun deaths. During that same time period, there were 3,080 Americans killed on U.S. soil in an act of terrorism. (The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 account for the overwhelming majority of these deaths. This number also includes acts of terror like the murder of Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider in Kansas who was killed in 2009 by an anti-abortion activist.)
Compare the two, and it's not even a question which poses the greater threat to public safety. But the only mention of guns during the entire debate came from Jeb Bush, and it wasn't even about guns.
In his opening remarks, the former governor of Florida said "America is under the gun to lead the free world to protect our civilized way of life." The only other time "gun" turns up in the two-hour transcript is in the word "begun."
According to a poll released this week by ABC News and the Wall Street Journal, 71% of Americans now believe that shooting violence is a normal part of American life.
It's not hard to understand why.