Law and Economics — 22 May 2018
Economics and Gun Violence: Their Relationship

After the mass shooting in Las Vegas earlier this year, Aimee Picchi, an anchor on CBS’s Moneywatch reported the following:

“Gun violence in the U.S. also has an enormous financial cost, rippling through the economy in the form of lost wages, medical bills, higher taxes for law enforcement and lower property values, among other factors. Some estimates put the total annual tab of shootings at well over $100 billion, while others put it even higher.”

While most of this live in quiet suburban neighborhoods where “things like this don’t happen” the devastating impact on a mass shooting is out of sight out of mind. But it’s our tax dollars that pay for the care of victims on Medicaid, for the increase in law enforcement on the state and federal level as well as for the conditions of the prisons and the criminal justice system on the state and federal level.

While we all sit and complain that the law hasn’t taken any action, especially after the mass shooting in Santa Fe, Texas this week,  the financial and economic costs of these mass shooting mostly go undiscussed.

When you add up the expenses that can be directly measured such as healthcare costs criminal jusstice expenses, law enforcement, employers costs, lost income, Ohio reported that gun violence cost them around 2.7 billion dollars in 2017. However, thanks to personal injury and wrongful death suits if you add up pain and suffering, the price tag raises to roughly 7.3 billion per year.

Not convinced? Here’s a primary example. Jennifer Longdon was shot in a road rage incident which left her paralyzed. A majority of her medical bills were covered by Medicaid and Medicare. She spent $40,000 for wheelchair modifications to her house and another $35,000 for a lift van. She subsequently filed for bankruptcy.

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Dolores Obrien

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