Cost of Gun Deaths in America

After the Shooting Deaths at Virginia Tech some years ago one would think that there would be a demand for real change in gun laws and the proliferation of weapons especially automatics and semi automatics . I guess not.

The words of the 2nd amendment seem to be set in stone. Even faced with multiple massacres Americans respond illogically by buying more guns.


Not so long ago the United States Government almost came to a shutdown as both Democrats and Republicans squabbled about ways in which to reduce the deficit.

Current public programs look like being slashed. along with vital infrastructure programs that would have increased productivity and provided much need jobs.


At a time when the economy needs stimulus seems like the political cycle will only grant the opposite-slash and burn. We know that some of these cuts will hurt especially those than can least afford it the lower income earners. Okay I know I have written before about this old chestnut HERE. I do here however present some new less known facts about the costs of gun violence in the United States. One of the ways in which the Government could have changed policy and saved money at the same time is gun control. Did you know that the financial cost alone for gun violence in America cost billions of dollars annually . In 2005 the figure was 37 billions alone. That right 37 billion (not million) dollars each and every year. Gun violence remains a huge tax on America's quality of life even in monetary terms. Not counting the loss in pain and suffering to family and friends.

Statisitcs on gun violence in America

Statistics on Gun Violence in America- A peer reviewed study by an Insurance Actuary and Academic Professor Jean Lemaire at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania discovered to his dismay that the annual costs of gun deaths and polices toward firearms cost the nation to one hundred billion dollars annually. The billions of dollars by the way does not account for the emotional and mental suffering and physical pain that being shot. As well it does not cover the costs of pain of loved ones being shot or killed. Such a calculation would send figures into the stratosphere. Handguns Kill People.

In 2000, 28,663 people in the US died from firearm injury: 16,586 from suicide,10,801 from homicide, 776 unintentional, 270 from legal intervention, 230 undetermined (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003).

Of course the impact of gun related deaths in America also has an adverse impact on the life expectancy of Americans. The US remains far behind other countries of similar levels of affluence. The figure for males is 30th for males and 29th for females from 35 countries with a similar level of economic development.

In the US, about 80% of firearm homicides (and about 70% of firearm suicides) are committed using a handgun,

The crude US measure of death by 100,000 per population dwarfs any other country. The US rate dwarfs the rate of any other industrialized country. It is 5.5 times the next highest rate that of Italy.

Policy makers looking to save money and prevent crime which is very expensive in both law enforcement terms,medical and loss of income generation and taxes paid could or rather should look at gun proliferation as a way and means of reducing public debt.

In the 2007 Supreme Court decision the argument about the 2nd amendment rights was clarified albiet not without continued dispute which ended arguing about the founding father's use of commas in the Constitution. In the case of District of Columbia v Heller the US Supreme Court found that the state had no right to restrict the use of firearms and that the 2nd amendment gave the absolute right of citizens to remain armed. Whilst the Supreme Court ended up deciding the case on the use of commas; Whether there were two or three commas in the founding document.

Surely the result is absurd having regard to the practical effect that the ruling has on modern day America. Like all Constitutions worldwide they are surely meant to be organic documents meant to serve the people.

I content the interpretation of the 2nd amendment, far from serving the public imposes a terrific toll on America's population.

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Comments 41 comments

stardust21 4 years ago

I am not American, so this will be an outsider's point of view. (I'm French)

The gun issue along with the Death Penalty and allowing 16 years old to drive are 3 things I think do NOT belong in a modern, civilized society. I often hear people talking about Muslim and how they live in the Middle Ages... well to me, gun ownership and death penalty makes America look way behind modern societies too. It's like living your life like a cowboy in the Far West!

How can one think that Gun ownership is a vital right to freedom? How about the right to live a peaceful life? One cannot control how an individual will turn out. You might be giving weapons to very dangerous individuals who will harm people and society and then you will execute them.

It is sad to say, but every time I see on TV that there's been a gun attack in a school or shooting here or there, I cannot but think you only get what you sew. Making people grow up to believe it is ok to live with a gun will never make them responsible individuals. It is utterly wrong.

And then there are the people who defend gun ownership but are against abortions. Who are these self made upholders of the law? Seriously.

- Gun Ownership is wrong.

- Death Penalty is wrong.

- Letting teenagers drive is wrong.

Wake up America. Before you go and try to police the world.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

BobL your comment may be true. if only you knew the peer review process it would change your mind (possibly)


Bill DikantFreedom of Speech is protected by the right to bear arme. 4 years ago

What bothers me is that 11,000 or more are killed by Drunk Drivers, and hundreds of thousands severely injured and it is an accepted fact that D.W.I. is Americas only socially acceptable crime of potential violence.The costs of this acceptable crime is 52 Billion Dollars plus per year and only few people voice their frustrations on the way this is crime handeled. The Justice system treats the offenders with kid gloves, do they give killers 3 or more chances to kill by guns as as they give the "HIGHWAY TERRORIST's" to kill while driving intoxicated???.

Bill Dikant,D.W.I. Victim Advocate,

Castleton, N.Y. 12033


BobL 4 years ago

This article is zealous, pseudo-intellectual sophistry. It's value is exhausted beyond use as an example of flawed logic, biased reasoning, and cooked figures by a charlatan. Universities are not what they used to be. Being a professor now usually just means you're good at doing what you're told and regurgitating PC rubbish you were spoon-fed during your effective indoctrination. There are few exceptions, sadly. A talented statistician could "prove" 1 + 1 = 3 if his audience isn't bright enough to recognize his carefully disguised "errors" (i.e., deliberate efforts to deceive).


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

mm that is why Professor Lemaire an Actuary at Wharton did the study and came up with a peer reviewed journal on the topic.


Randy 4 years ago

Article: The crude US measure of death by 100,000 per population dwarfs any other country.

Simply not true. U.S. homocide rate by gun of 3.72 per 100,000 is rather low compared to all other countries--for example; Mexico (in 1990s before drug violance) rate was about 10 per 100,000; roughly same as Brazil at about 11 per 100,000; Then there are countries such as Columbia and So. Africa at about 30 per 100,000

Article: The US rate dwarfs the rate of any other industrialized country. It is 5.5 times the next highest rate that of Italy

Not true. The U.S. homicide rate by gun per FBI of 3.72 per 100,000 is 2.2 times the rate of Italy which is 1.66 per 100,000

Italy also beats the US in motor vehicle deaths, US motor vehicle death rate is 12.3 per 100,000 and Italian motor vehicle death rate is 8.7 per 100,000.

Now to the money claims. So far, everyone dies. To determine the “true cost” of gun homicides in the US, or anywhere, one would need to know the medical costs associated with the deaths of those same persons if they had died of other causes. In other words, how much did the gunshot death cost compared to the person’s natural death at some future time? Perhaps it is even cheaper for the public to pay for a quick death by gunshot as opposed to the much greater cost of a long-term lingering illness—not that that is a good thing.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

"they would simply use another method." I disagree. If another method was more protracted, more difficult. Japan has a different culture especially about losing face. Something other cultures such as Americans and Australians are not so afflicted with...


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Japan has the highest sucide rate in the world, and almost none involve a firearm. Slightly over half of American suicides involve a firearm, and there's no reason to believe that the availabilty of a firearm was the primary reason for the suicide. If firearms were not available, they would simply use another method.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

Here's a tidbit for you. Our founding fathers enacted the Bill of Rights which are the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The basic document would not have been ratified without them. The First Amendment is the cornerstone of the other ten. The second amendment is there to ensure that the First Amendment is always protected.

There's a bit of American history just for you in Australia.

The Frog


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

Long before guns were even invented, people were killing other people with rocks, sharpened sticks, swords, knives, bow and arrows, and their bare hands. This would leave me to believe the root of this issue lies with people, not guns. Guns are just the latest invention for easily killing others. I don't think the suicide rate would change much at all if all guns were eliminated. There are still ropes, pills, and bridges and buildings to jump from. I firmly believe that eliminating all people would be the only complete solution to these problems.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I agree road traffic deaths and injuries are scandelous too


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina

It's gasoline that's killing folks, or did you miss Mad Max?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I think that you would agree that we have a natural right to life. It follows then that we also have a natural right to defend that life, and therefore, a natural right to the means to defend that life.

I wrote a Hub on that very topic:

http://hubpages.com/politics/About-the-right-to-Ar...


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

OK I will allow this comment to Stand. So what your point that 30,000 deaths per year is a fair price to pay for citizens having the right to access guns for personal use ? Including the 'dead-beat maniac' who down the street, or just the ordinary citizen that has a hard day -and then decides to take out his anger by having pot shots at whoever.

I fail to see, call me daft if you like, why the population should be given a right to such a lethal means. The means to snuff out an individual in a millisecond. Whether of not they have a reason or not why do we give the public the means to perform a summary execution.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 4 years ago from New York

"Did you know that the financial cost alone for gun deaths in America is around one hundred billion dollars annually a year 2000 figures."

I am sorry, Barry, but your $100 B figure is wrong. The total financial cost of gun related deaths is around $28.6 B and well below the $100 B you claim. Your source, Professor Lemaire, attributes this number to another study. “Cook and Ludwig (2000), using a willingness-to-pay methodology, estimate the aggregate cost of gun violence in the United States at about $100 billion annually” Willingness-to-pay methodology does not determine the real cost of anything! It is, in fact, a marketing tool designed to gauge the maximum amount a market is willing to pay, sacrifice, or exchange to receive or to avoid a product or condition.

In addition, Professor Lemaire, an insurance actuary, states, “The purpose of this article is to evaluate the cost of firearm violence in terms of life expectancies.” He points out that “the age-adjusted U.S. firearm homicide rate has decreased by nearly 40 percent over the last decade” and admits in his conclusion that “a causal link between the availability of firearms and the rate of firearm deaths has not been proven.”

Finally, Professor Lemaire qualifies the impact of gun deaths by saying, “Among all fatal injuries...motor vehicle accidents have a stronger effect.”

As mentioned in another comment, total motor vehicle and traffic deaths are more than 43% higher with a resulting financial burden more than 27% greater than gun deaths.

Q.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

WilllStarr

It's the cost of gun violence in total not just deaths


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

ok to make it simple just Google a peer reviewed article as quoted 'n the hub by myself. " Cost of Gun deaths in America "


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Whenever the source is well-hidden, I become suspicious. But if you'll kindly just provide the source, I'll look at it.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I gave you the souce kindly reread the hub


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

So where's your source?


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

no not obvious a phoney figure


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Did you know that the financial cost alone for gun deaths in America is around one hundred billion dollars annually a year 2000 figures."

That comes to $3,333,333.00 per gun death, obviously a phony figure. Try again.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Firearm homicides disproportionately affect young people: in 2000, the average

age at death was 32.4 for white males, 39.3 for white females, 38.2 for black males, and

31.9 for black females (author’s calculations from Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention data, 2003). In contrast, firearm suicides mostly affect middle-aged white

males: whites are nearly twice as likely to die from firearm suicide as African-Americans,

and that gap has increased in the past 20 years. In 2000, the average age at death for

firearm suicides was 49 for white males, 46 for white females, 36.9 for black males, and

38.4 for black females.

Of course, deaths at early ages have a profound effect on life expectancies


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Quilligrapher

these are not my figures but are extracted from a peer reviewed report by an actuary at:-

Jean Lemaire

Wharton School

University of Pennsylvania


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 4 years ago from New York

Hub:

"Did you know that the financial cost alone for gun deaths in America is around one hundred billion dollars annually a year 2000 figures."

"In 2000, 28,663 people in the US died from firearm injury: 16,586 from suicide, 10,801 from homicide, 776 unintentional, 270 from legal intervention, 230 undetermined (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003)."

Barry, your total financial cost resulting from gun deaths is considerably higher than that reported by the CDC for 2005. The latest Cost of Injury Reports generated for 2005 indicates 30,694 gun deaths, an increase of 7% over the 2000 data mentioned in the hub. The total financial cost for gun related deaths for the most recent period is $28.6 B and well below the $100 B that you stated. (http://wisqars.cdc.gov:8080/costT/)

To put these numbers in perspective, consider the total Motor Vehicle and Traffic deaths for 2005 reported as 43,667, more than 43% higher than gun deaths with a resulting financial burden of $39.4 B, more than 27% greater. Even deaths and related costs from poisoning were greater than gun deaths.

Hub:

"The crude US measure of death by 100,000 per population dwarfs any other country. The US rate dwarfs the rate of any other industrialized country. It is 5.5 times the next highest rate that of Italy."

Although the Italy to USA ratio is very close, Switzerland appears to be the next highest rate following the USA. Here are gun deaths per 100,000 population (for the year indicated) as taken from Cukier and Sidel (The Global Gun Epidemic. Praeger Security International. Westport. 2006) and displayed on a British gun control website http://www.gun-control-network.org/GF01.htm :

USA (2001) 10.26

Switzerland (1998) 6.4

Finland (2003) 4.90

France (2001) 4.1

Canada (2002) 2.44

Italy (1997) 1.98

Australia (2001) 1.68

England/Wales (2002) 0.38

Scotland (2002) 0.28

Japan (2002) 0.06

Q.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

thanks Sophia for your comment

Using multiple

decrement techniques, we show that firearm violence shortens the life of an average

American by 104 days (151 days for white males, 362 days for black males).

Jean Lemaire

Wharton.


Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

Wow, Barry. You have completely educated me. I didn't realize any of this. Thanks for writing this!


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

James A Watkins 'It is estimated' how can one estimate how firearms prevent crime when you not have a control group without guns? to compare and contrast a society without. All you can do is look at comparable countries with proper gun control and the statistics speak for themselves.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

So 11,000 were killed by guns. But 12,000 were killed by other means. It wasn't the guns that killed those people. It was other people.

It is estimated that guns PREVENT 2.5 million crimes each year in the U.S. Most of those potential victims are women and the elderly—for whom a gun is the great equalizer against a larger, more powerful criminal.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

TeaPartyChrasher Please feel free to share this.

Romper20 Thanks for your comment!


TeaPartyCrasher profile image

TeaPartyCrasher 4 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

Might I share this


romper20 profile image

romper20 4 years ago from California

Great way to expose a very sensitive yet HUGE issue affecting our daily lives. I look forward to more Hubs!


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

InicibleSyats

Thanks for your comment as I said to hmrjm1 the suicide effect was studied by the studies and it finds that whilst substitution takes place as far as suicides is concerned it is not as great in other woords a gun makes it much more easy and likely to be successful.

Alma Cabase thanks for your comment too.


Invisiblestats profile image

Invisiblestats 5 years ago from london

Alma I have to agree!

Good hub but some floors in some of your points.. I have to agree with hmrjmr1. Suicides will happen with guns of without them.

I think its a sad point but suicides, murders etc. will happen with or without guns, People will always find away.

I do wish there was some way to make a law that will lower all these crimes etc. Sadly I really do not think it will ever happen.

I do know that here in the UK it is a lot harder to get permission to own a weapon. But murder and crime is still high and people will get hold of it somehow.It will just drive it more underground if we remove peoples right to decide for themselves.


Alma Cabase profile image

Alma Cabase 5 years ago from Philippines

Conclusion: Guns are one of the most useless inventions man ever made.


American Romance profile image

American Romance 5 years ago from America

barry.............coughing coughing underbreath! Bull$%#$%$ .........enough said!


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Writer David

Well David yes your right I cannot take anyones gun from them. I can only point out the huge financial cost of everyone exercising their current right to retain their weapons.

Second point we know that some laws are wrong and other serve us well such a the limited right to free speech. I contend that the right to own use a weapon serves eveyone badly...


Writer David profile image

Writer David 5 years ago from Mobile, AL

Barry, two questions. How do you propose to take guns out of the hands of criminals? How do you go about repealing the 2nd Amendment?

The answer to both is that...you can't do it. I'll give up my gun the same day every criminal in America gives up their weapon. But, not before. As for the 2nd Amendment; if that amendment is repealed, how about the other amendments that people don't like? How about freedom of speech? Yes, there are people (without naming them) who dislike that amendment when it doesn't jive with their opinion.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hmrjmr1

Indeed good point "The Substitution Effect" was considered in the study. Comparisons were made on that and were not significant. Along with other studies made. You can read the study yourself by Googling Professor Jean Lemaire. Cost of Gun deaths in America. By the way comparisons are made along with other studies that have taken place in UK & Europe.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 5 years ago from Georgia, USA

Sir - The correlations are wrong in your (and the studies) supposition. Suicides will take place weather there are guns or not. Prevention of suicides has to do more with signal recognition and early intervention, as once a person is truly committed to that course of action, they will find a way.

Homicides are much the same; where does it stop? Are you going to ban kitchen knives? After all, right behind guns, they are responsible for the most domestic killings and injuries.

In either it is not about the weapon it is about the behavior. Places where the gun laws are some of the strictest still manage to see deaths and crimes committed with firearms as the weapon of choice. (UK, Germany, Italy to name a few)


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

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