What The NRA Lobbied To Keep You From Knowing: Gun Violence Costs $229 Billion A Year (IMAGE/VIDEO)


Direct costs of homicide in the U.S.: $8.6 billion.

Indirect costs: $49 billion.

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Costs of loss in quality of life: $169 billion.

The value of the NRA, which lobbies to prevent you from knowing these and other factors of gun violence in the U.S.? Worthless.

That didn’t stop Mother Jones’ senior editor Mark Follman from spending six months to dig up that information, though. And with help from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, he provides it from an angle that just might strike even conservative supporters of the NRA: economics.

The annual cost of gun violence in the U.S. comes to $229 billion – almost the same amount we spend on Medicaid.

Image from Mother Jones

Image from Mother Jones

Of the $8.6 billion in direct costs (things like hospital bills, police and ambulance response to shootings, court and prison costs), 87 percent comes from the public’s pocketbooks, too, requiring taxpayer funding. Says Follman in his report:

(T)he average cost to taxpayers for a single gun homicide in America is nearly $400,000. And we pay for 32 of them every single day.

See MoJo’s video, which details the costs and their categories, below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nook1b8EyTs&w=853&h=480]

More disturbing, though, is that the National Rifle Association lobbies against this research. Beginning in 1985, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actively paid for studies on gun violence, which concluded that such could be avoided with particular restrictions and laws on gun sales and ownership. And eight years later in 1993, while not related to CDC research, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed by congress.

Whether these studies and the Brady Bill affected gun sales isn’t exactly known because that data doesn’t get released to the public. (The only information that comes out is the number of background checks conducted every year.) They might have had some effect, though, because the NRA began aggressive lobbying to end those studies by CDC in the mid ‘90s.

And that lobbying was successful, too. In 1996, House Republicans slashed the CDC budget by the exact amount it spent the previous year on gun research ($2.6 million). That same year, another passed law (sponsored by NRA drone Rep. Jay Dickey) made it impossible for CDC to conduct other studies. That law reads:

None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.

Mark Rosenberg, who was director of the relevant National Center for Injury Control and Prevention under CDC at that time, told The Washington Post earlier this year:

It basically was a shot across the bow by Congress on the part of the NRA. All federally funded research was shut down.

President Obama tried to correct that in his last two budget proposals, requesting $10 million for gun safety research by the CDC each time.  Bills were introduced by Democrats in the House and Senate for the same funding, too. House Republicans blocked all of the requests, though.


Image: Public Domain via Wikipedia (modified)

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