Each year, more than 11,000 Americans are murdered with a gun, and hundreds of them are children. More than 20,000 people commit suicide with one. Unsecured firearms are another threat to children.
But as Mother Jones‘s Mark Follman points out, “there is no definitive assessment of the costs for victims, their families, their employers, and the rest of us—including the major sums associated with criminal justice, long-term health care, and security and prevention. Our media is saturated with gun carnage practically 24/7. So why is the question of what we all pay for it barely part of the conversation?”
The National Rifle Association and similar groups have done their best to stifle gun violence research, despite President Obama’s executive order that was intended to give the CDC a new budget.
Together with Ted Miller at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Mother Jones found that the annual cost of gun violence in this country is over $229 billion. Direct costs—including long-term prison costs for people who commit assault and homicide with firearms—account for $8.6 billion. Indirect costs amount to at least $221 billion. About $169 billion is related to the impact on gun violence victims’ quality of life. Their lost wages add up to $49 billion a year.