Estimating the costs of gun deaths, not simply gun usage and violence, in the US is stymied by a successful lobbying effort to limit the funds available for data collection and research. Hence, estimates require more assumptions and private efforts. The numbers are stark.
“Mother Jones crunched data from 2012 and found that the annual cost of gun violence in America exceeds $229 billion.”
That’s for a population of about 330,000,000. Direct costs to accommodate the criminals is ‘only’ about $8,600,000,000. The greater costs come from the direct costs to the victims, their families, and their communities; as well as the indirect costs. Someone has to pay for those active shooter drills and the time lost conducting them. Considering the cost of health care in the US, it’s easy to encounter lifetime health costs in the millions per person. Each death is estimated to cost from $6,200,000 up to $9,200,000. The costs of one mass shooting event quickly becomes measured in a fraction of a billion dollars. Add in the cost of some sites being demolished and rebuilt, which has happened for some schools, and the cost to the community is extraordinary – especially compared to the cost of a few bullets easily purchased. In a time when we’re looking for ways to make government more efficient and to save taxpayers money, there’s an opportunity to save more than just money. We could save tens of thousands of lives, a goal that’s sufficient to launch billion-dollar biotechs. Perhaps society can see a similar benefit.