In a recent piece for Medium, Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reflected on the implications of Mother Jones’ groundbreaking report on the cost of gun violence in America. The report, in Thomas’ words, “puts a human face and a $229 billion price tag on this public health crisis” and calls for further implementation of smart gun laws.
Furthermore, Thomas pointed out the effects of gun violence beyond isolated communities and individual survivors and families. As the Mother Jones report shows, medical, legal, and prison expenses cause gun violence to cost the average American taxpayer over $700 per year, making it more expensive than the nation’s obesity epidemic. That price tag, Thomas notes, varies state to state, unsurprisingly, directly in accordance with each state’s respective gun laws. For example, in Louisiana, which has the nation’s highest gun homicide rate and received an “F” from the Law Center’s Gun Law State Scorecard, gun violence costs residents an average of $1,300 per year, while in states that received high marks, like Hawaii and Massachusetts, residents were paying approximately $260 per year.
On a more positive note, Thomas ended the piece by mentioning the 99 new smart gun laws passed in 37 states since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. The new report, Thomas writes, “makes it that much harder for Congress to keep its head buried in the sand, ignoring the problem while the loss of life — and taxpayers’ share of the related bills — continues to rise.”