Politics

Gun violence costs the US $229 billion annually: Report

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Key Points
  • Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Joint Economic Committee Vice Chair,  published a new report Wednesday that estimates gun violence costs the U.S. $229 billion a year.
  • Democratic lawmakers have increasingly pressured the Republican-majority Senate to act on gun legislation.
  • "The United States stand alone in this degree of gun violence," Maloney said. "The human costs are beyond our ability to comprehend, it is tragic, it is sickening and it is a crisis."
Hundreds of high school and middle school students from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia staged walkouts and gather in front of the Capitol in support of gun control in the wake of the Florida shooting February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Olivier Douliery | AFP | Getty Images

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), vice chair of the House Joint Economic Committee, published a new report Wednesday that estimates gun violence costs the U.S. $229 billion a year.

The report used data from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Centers for Disease Control to estimate the cost of gun violence in all 50 states.

Lost income represents the biggest cost to the economy, the report notes. Employer costs, police and criminal justice responses and health care treatment, are among the other major expenses.

Democratic lawmakers have increasingly pressured the Republican-majority Senate to act on gun legislation. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned President Donald Trump Sunday that any proposal on gun control should include the House-passed bill to expand on background checks.

Trump has said he is considering tightening background checks, but has more often emphasized a desire to key in on mental health, when it comes to preventing gun violence.

"Now is the time for the Senate to act," said Adam Skaggs, chief counsel and policy director at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, during the press briefing Wednesday.

The three largest states by population, California, Texas and Florida, bear the greatest absolute costs of gun violence, according to the report. Gun violence costs California $18 billion annually, the report said, followed by $16.6 billion for Texas and $14 billion for Florida.

States with high rates of gun ownership such as Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, West Virginia and Wyoming, also had the highest rates of gun suicide. Alaska had the highest overall gun death rate per capita of all 50 states.

Children and teens were also at a much higher risk of firearm-related injuries and deaths in the U.S., compared to other advanced countries, according to the report.

"Children now go to school in New York with bullet proof backpacks, and do drills in their schools to protect them from gun violence," Maloney said during a press briefing.

"The United States stand alone in this degree of gun violence," she said. "The human costs are beyond our ability to comprehend, it is tragic, it is sickening and it is a crisis."

National nonprofit advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise, on Wednesday released a chilling back-to-school PSA, to raise awareness of how mass shootings impact school children.

The Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing on its report Wednesday at 2:15 p.m., which will be available in a livestream.