News, Culture & Society

Firearm-related injuries cost the US $3billion a year

As the number of victims injured at the deadliest shooting in US history continues to rise, a timely new report reveals firearm-related injuries cost America $2.8billion a year in healthcare costs.

The study from Johns Hopkins Medicine found that guns are now the third leading cause of death in the US, and unintentional injuries rose to 37.4 percent in 2014.

With the average emergency room visit costing $5,200, it means American taxpayers are shelling out billions a year to account for firearms. 

The report, published today, comes as the nation faces yet another challenge to reach an agreement on gun control policies.

The US spends nearly $3billion each year on firearm-related injuries, a Johns Hopkins Medicine report has found (file photo)


The following are figures on the numbers of preventable deaths that took place in 2014.

Gun violence

Total: 33,594

Per every 100,000 people: 10.5

Car accidents

Total: 33,736

Per every 100,000 people: 10.6


Total: 51,966

Per every 100,000 people:  16.3

For the study, researchers looked at the cases of more than 704,000 people who went to an emergency room following a firearm related injury between 2006 and 2014.

Nearly 90 percent of the patients were men, and about 50 percent were between ages 18 and 29.

Researchers found that firearm injuries affected males nine times more than females. Almost 46 of every 100,000 males were injured during the years the researchers observed. This is compared to the five-and-a-half females of every 100,000.

The average amount of an emergency room charge is $5,254 whereas the amount for an inpatient stay was $95,887 on average. This totals approximately $2.8billion spent on firearm-related injuries each year.

Researcher Dr Faiz Gani said that over half of the patients the researchers included in the study were either self-paying or uninsured. This means that either they pay for their treatment out-of-pocket or the hospital that treated them is uncompensated.

And researchers also found that the number of ER visits resulting from firearm-related injuries for people over 30 increased from 2006 to 2014.

The study also concluded that patients injured by hunting rifles were more likely to have a mental health disorder.

About eight percent of the patients observed died in the emergency room or while receiving inpatient care as a result of a firearm-related injury, the study found. 

Dr Gani said: ‘Until people are aware of the problem’s full extent, we can’t have the best informed discussions to guide policy.’