We know that gun violence costs United States taxpayers an estimated $229 billion each year. Today, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and the Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense released a new report detailing the devastating financial toll gun violence has on commerce in the state, which scores a C on our Gun Law State Scorecard.
The Economic Cost of Gun Violence in Minnesota: A Business Case for Action examines the enormous price—$764 million annually, in addition to the devastating human cost—Minnesotans pay as the state continues to grapple with this public health crisis. Research also shows that gun violence costs more than $50 million in lost business opportunity for the state each year. When cost estimates to the quality of life damage caused by gun violence are factored in, the total cost of gun violence in Minnesota rises to $2.2 billion annually.
The report outlines several key steps Minnesota’s legislators can take to address gun violence, including:
- Closing Background Check Loopholes: Minnesota currently does not require criminal background checks on all gun sales. This loophole lets felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill purchase guns in Minnesota without a background check.
- Investing in the Community: Gun violence thrives in areas where environmental conditions—such as abandoned lots and unsafe public parks—leave communities feeling disempowered. By investing in programs that reclaim public space for community use and clean up abandoned properties in impacted areas, Minnesota can reduce violence while also creating social and economic opportunity for local communities.
- Supporting Community-Based Violence Intervention Programs: Proven community-based intervention strategies can effectively address gun violence in at-risk populations, including young men of color who live in underserved neighborhoods. By establishing programs that connect at-risk youth to badly needed social services and creating hospital-based intervention programs that use case managers to reduce the probability of violence by and against impacted individuals, Minnesota can achieve a substantial decline in violence. (Learn more about community investment strategies in our report Healing Communities in Crisis.)
This comprehensive, quantifiable review of the hundreds of millions of dollars gun violence costs Minnesota’s economy and business community each year reveals the scope of the problem and provides lawmakers with the essential legislative solutions they need to protect communities from needless tragedies and the unacceptable human and financial toll they exact on the state.
While this report focuses exclusively on Minnesota, the state is hardly unique. Gun violence creates an enormous financial burden all across America, with an estimated total taxpayer expense of $229 billion each year, according to a comprehensive 2015 analysis by Mother Jones.