P H Y S I C I A N S F O R S O C I A L R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y
V I O L E N C E P R E V E N T I O N F A C T S H E E T N O . 2
Injuries and deaths attributable to gun violence have
enormous economic implications for the United
States. Deaths and injuries inflicted by firearms cost
the United States about $100 billion every year, in-
cluding hospitalization, other medical costs, and lost
productivity. Often these costs must be paid for with
public tax dollars. Far worse, nearly one-fifth of ur-
ban trauma centers had to shut down between 1986
and 1991 because of the immense costs associated
with caring for gun violence patients.
In addition to the human costs that gun violence imposes
on countless people, Americans also pay a financial price
for the gun violence epidemic. Federal taxes levied on fire-
arm purchases should better reflect the true costs that guns
inflict on society. Taxes on firearms and ammunition sales
should be used to fund medical care for gun-related inju-
ries. Further, requiring federal safety standards for the de-
sign, manufacture, and distribution of firearms would re-
duce injuries and the financial burden caused by unsafe
gun industry practices.
Economic Impact of Firearms
Hospital charges due to firearm-related injuries in the United
States cost $800 million in 1997, while the total cost of gun
violence was estimated at $100 billion in 2001.
Cook, Philip J. and Jens Ludwig. “Gun Violence: The Real
Costs,” Journal of the American Medical Association,
2001, Vol. 286, p. 605-607.
Coben, Jeffrey H. and Claudia Steiner. “Hospitalization
for Firearm-Related Injuries in the United States, 1997”,
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2003, Vol.
24, p. 1-8.
In 1994, treatment of gunshot injuries in the United States
was estimated at $2.3 billion in lifetime medical costs, of
which $1.1 billion was paid by taxpayers.
Cook, et. al. “Medical Costs of Gunshot Injuries in the
United States,” Journal of the American Medical
Association, 1999, Vo