Debate Magazine

The Tremendous Cost of Gun Violence

Posted on the 01 October 2011 by Mikeb302000 reports what to me seem like very conservative numbers when calculating the cost of gun violence. 
In an attempt to calculate the total costs associated with fatal and non-fatal gun-related injuries, researchers considered costs associated with criminal proceedings, lost productivity, medical care, and suffering and decreased quality of life experienced by victims.
Each non-fatal gun injury was found to cost society around $46,000 and fatal injuries cost an estimated $6.4 million, according to the report.
"Using these parameters, the cost of the 36 fatal and 133 non-fatal firearm injuries to youth in San Mateo County from 2005 to 2009 will total $234 million over time," the report said.
That's impressive enough, especially when you multiply it with the national figure. Then you're talking more than $5 billion per year.
But, doesn't the figure used seem a bit on the low side. I find it hard to believe that calculating the effect on family and considering the loss of future earnings, in addition to the immediate and more obvious costs like emergency room services and in many cases surgical operations, I find it hard to believe the $46,000 average would cover it.
Laci once provided us with what seems to me a more realistic calculation.
They also state that when lost productivity, lost quality of life, and pain and suffering are added to medical costs, estimates of the annual cost of firearm violence range from $20 billion to $100 billion. According to the National Center for Disease Control, the cost of firearm fatalities is the highest of any injury-related death. In fact, the average cost of a gunshot related death is $33,000, while gun-related injuries total over $300,000 for each occurrence.
My calculations bring us in at about $30 billion, and that's year in and year out. What's your opinion? Are these staggering numbers enough to get the attention of people? Maybe the 30,000 deaths a year has become nothing more than a statistic, like Stalin said. People may have become inured to this, as terrible as it is. Perhaps they need to think about the cost, given the economic mess the country is in, maybe this is the way to get through.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

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