Since last Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the media coverage has largely concentrated on gun control policies and America’s ongoing inability to address mental health issues. While the image of twenty dead children makes the effects of gun violence vividly tangible, it doesn’t reveal the full extent of the costs of what some might argue has become an American epidemic.
According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study, nonfatal gun injuries and gun-related deaths cost the United States $5.6 billion in medical spending every year, and an additional $64.6 billion when accounting for the lost productivity that stems from gun-related violence:
Worse still, victims of gun violence tend to be concentrated in urban and inner-city regions — the types of Americans who are less likely to be employed or have health insurance, and more likely to pass the cost of their care onto other Americans by relying on emergency room services.
Although the number of gun-related deaths has been lowered thanks to breakthroughs in medical technology, the actual incidence of gun-related violence has actually been increasing.