The Unasked Question About The Cost Of "Gun Violence"

Jan-Marcus-Trapp / Pixabay

Many people are very preoccupied with the topic of gun violence. I can’t say that I’m overly surprised, all things considered. Violent crime is a horrible thing we’d all like to purge from existence, but most of it is carried out with a firearm. There’s a reason people are focused on it.

I’ve argued they’re focused on the wrong thing, but that’s a topic for another time.

At ABC News, they’ve had an ongoing series about gun violence in America. Unsurprisingly, it’s typically anti-Second Amendment crap, and a recent installment on the cost of such violence to America doesn’t really seem to be any different.

In the debate about gun violence, advocates on all sides cite many statistics.

One that is prominently mentioned is the number of gun deaths, more than 194,000 over the past five years, averaging about 39,000 deaths annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But the death toll – while gut-wrenching — only tells part of the story.

The true cost of gun violence is hard to quantify and its ripple effects extend through families and communities and over the course of generations in some cases.

But there are ways to illustrate at least some of the scope of the issue.

From hospital bills and lost wages to lost productivity, advocates estimate gun violence costs America almost $300 billion a year, according to research by government groups and activists who have collected and reviewed available public data.

Without seeing the studies being cited, I can’t really comment on the accuracy of these claims.

What I can do, however, is ask a question. Just how much of this $300 billion is attributable to gun control?

See, while these studies look at so-called gun violence and the financial impact of these particular violent crimes, what they’re not able to do is dig any deeper. We don’t really know just how much of this happens to be because people are because of gun control laws keeping people disarmed.

For example, think about places like New York, New Jersey, and California (as well as others) that require concealed carry applicants to declare a reason they should be issued a permit. For some issuing authorities, “self-defense” isn’t considered a valid enough reason. So someone who cannot get a permit from one of those issuing authorities ends up being shot because he or she couldn’t defend themselves.

How does that get accounted for?

Or what about the guy who screwed up when he was 19. Now, 20 years later, he still can’t lawfully own a firearm. He lives in a bad neighborhood and he’s disarmed, so if he gets shot, how is that accounted for?

There’s a cost to “gun violence,” sure, but there’s also a cost to gun control. That’s the question ABC News doesn’t seem inclined to ask, nor have any of the other activists who have looked into this.

That’s partially because doing so would be extremely difficult. The other part is that they’re afraid of the answer.

And that doesn’t even address the fact that many of the victims of so-called gun violence are criminals themselves, thus should probably not be counted as if they were regular productive members of society. It’s not like anyone’s really upset that they’re unable to “work.”

But hey, why let reality get in the way of a good narrative?