Annual U.S. Cost of Gun Violence Put At $229B, Most In Quality Of Life


At least 750,000 Americans were injured by gunshots over the last decade, and more than 320,000 were killed. Working with Ted Miller of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Mother Jones magazine estimates the annual cost of U.S. gun violence as $229 billion. Direct costs account for $8.6 billion—including long-term prison costs for people who commit assault and homicide using guns, which at $5.2 billion is the largest direct expense. Even before accounting for intangible costs of the violence, the average cost to taxpayers for a single gun homicide is nearly $400,000. We pay for 32 of them daily.

Indirect costs amount to at least $221 billion, about $169 billion of which comes from what researchers consider to be the impact on victims’ quality of life. Each year more than 11,000 people are murdered with a firearm, and more than 20,000 others commit suicide using one. Hundreds of children die annually in gun homicides, and each week seems to bring news of another toddler accidentally shooting himself or a sibling with an unsecured gun. As crime overall has declined steadily, rates of gun injury and death are climbing (up 11 and 4 percent since 2011).

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