Statistics on the Costs of Gun Violence

Posted on April 17, 2015

chart-2-gunResearchers conservatively estimate that gun violence costs the American economy at least $229 billion every year, including $8.6 billion in direct expenses such as for emergency and medical care.1  Gun violence costs more than $700 per American every year, more than the total economic cost of obesity and almost as much as the annual price tag for the entire Medicaid program.2

Half of these costs are borne by U.S. taxpayers.3  But these costs are not borne evenly; the data shows that states with smart gun laws save lives and funds.  Wyoming, with the nation’s highest rate of gun deaths, also bears the highest gun violence costs per capita of any state: gun violence costs Wyoming around $1,400 per resident every year, twice the national average.4  By comparison, Hawaii, among the two states with the nation’s lowest rate of gun deaths, had costs associated with gun violence of $234 per resident per year, about 1/6th of Wyoming’s.5

In California, the direct costs of hospital use for firearm assault injuries alone was estimated at $87.4 million in 2010.  65% of these costs were borne by taxpayers.6

 

  1. Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee & James West, The True Cost of Gun Violence in America (2015), available at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/true-cost-of-gun-violence-in-america. []
  2. Id. []
  3. Philip Cook et al., The Medical Costs of Gunshot Injuries in the United States, 282 JAMA 447 (1999); Embry M. Howell et al., State Variation in Hospital Use and Cost of Firearm Assault Injury, 2010, 1, 6 (2014), available at http://www.urban.org/research/publication/state-variation-hospital-use-and-cost-firearm-assault-injury-2010. []
  4. Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee & James West, The True Cost of Gun Violence in America (2015), available at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/true-cost-of-gun-violence-in-america. []
  5. Id. []
  6. Embry M. Howell et al., State Variation in Hospital Use and Cost of Firearm Assault Injury, 2010, 1 (2014), available at http://www.urban.org/research/publication/state-variation-hospital-use-and-cost-firearm-assault-injury-2010. []