(WASHINGTON, D.C) — Gun violence in the U.S. does not only just cost people their lives — it costs the nation billions of dollars.
A new study found that, between 1992 to 2018, gun violence in the U.S. cost roughly $860 a person, meaning that the overall cost is $280 billion.
The report, from Everytown for Gun Safety, arrived at the number by researching economic costs in five separate categories: medical, police and criminal justice, employer related, work loss and quality of life.
Quality of life, specifically, targets what a person loses after a gun-related death or disability — such as pain and suffering — and how that relates to lawsuit settlements. It is deemed one of the most important factors when determining the overall cost of gun violence.
Says Ted Miller, of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation who helped develop the report, said, “You can’t go out and buy quality of life.”
Quality of life costs resulted in the nation losing $214.2 billion, while work-loss costs came second with a price tag of $51.2 billion.
The survey also found that $34.8 million is spent each day by federal, state and local governments to combat gun violence — such as paying first responders and criminal justice services.
Everytown Director Sarah Burd-Sharps hopes the study will spark conversations on how to properly deal and, hopefully, eliminate gun violence because of how much it is costing the nation each year.
“It’s critical that you have data on the billions that are going out, particularly at a time when municipalities and families are stretched because of COVID,” she said.
Burd-Sharps furthered that, in Louisiana, which has the highest level of firearm-related deaths — it costs the state an average of $1,793 per person each year.
Versus Massachusetts, which has stricter gun laws that contribute to a lower rate of gun deaths, the average cost per person drops to $261.
Said Burd-Sharps, “It’s pretty clear that states that have strong gun-safety laws have a far lower costs than states with lax gun laws.”