12/00 Guns Save Health Care Costs

Guns Save Health Care Costs
Larry Pratt

Oxford University Press — from England — is offering a book entitled Gun Violence: The Real Costs that asserts that violence from Americans using guns is $100 billion per year. The previous exaggerated figure was $20 billion.

Several subjective criteria were used to bloat the numbers. One such non-objective issue was “emotional costs experienced by relatives and friends of gunshot victims and the fear and general reduction in quality of life that the threat of gun violence imposes on everyone in America, including people who are not victims.”

So there you have it. Even if you have never been a victim of an armed criminal, you are part of the staggering cost of such violence each year because emotional costs to the victims lowering your quality of life. Isn’t science wonderful?

Consulting the analysis of a doctor who has more of a grip on the tangible world, Dr. Edgar Suter who is chairman of Doctors for Integrity in Policy Research, has put the true cost to victims and society at $1.5 billion per year. That is less than one percent of annual U.S. health care expenditures.

Dr. Suter makes this observation: “Claiming that gunshot wounds create costs of nearly half the annual U.S. health care expenditures requires estimates of ‘lifetime productivity lost,’ where every gangbanger is a brain surgeon and every rapist is a rocket scientist.”

We also know that firearms are used some 2.5 million times a year for self defense. That’s a lot of health care costs that never occurs, especially since approximately 93 percent of defense uses of guns do not require discharging the firearm.

Dr. Miguel Faria, editor of the Medical Sentinel of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, calculates that between 25 and 75 lives are saved for every life lost to a gun.

The Harvard Medical School has estimated that 96,000 people a year die from physician malpractice. That is over three times the number of people murdered or committing suicide or dying accidentally with a gun. Hopefully doctors save 25 to 75 times the number of people they kill each year so that at least they are proportionately as socially beneficial as are firearms.