New Report Discussed at Baltimore Press Conference with Local Leaders who Detailed Steps to Curb Urban Gun Violence
February 5, 2018— At a press conference in Baltimore with local leaders today, Giffords unveiled a new analysis that details the damage gun violence does to Maryland’s economy. The research, put together by Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, finds the overall economic cost exceeds exceeds $3.6 billion, with a direct annual cost to Maryland taxpayers of approximately $294 million. The new report, “The Economic Cost of Gun Violence in Maryland,” highlights the need for lawmakers at the state legislature to build on the important, life saving victories in previous years during the 2018 legislative session.
The press conference in Baltimore today centered on a previously introduced bill, supported by Giffords, that could help address gun violence in Maryland. The legislation (HB 432 and SB 545) introduced by Delegate Brooke Lierman would establish a Maryland Violence Intervention and Prevention Program Fund and use evidence-based public health strategies to reduce deaths from guns. The fund would provide financial support to local government and community-based organizations ready to implement programs that can reduce homicide, injuries, and trauma in areas disproportionately affected by gun violence. Advocates from organizations like Safe Street Cherry Hill spoke up today about how the $5 million investment could help them work with more individuals at-risk of using a gun.
“Every time gun violence devastates a family, the surrounding community loses,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Our research makes it clear that it’s not just victims and their families who are impacted by gun violence, it’s the entire state. Healthcare providers, employers, law enforcement, and local businesses are burdened with enormous costs following a shooting. Maryland has made considerable progress in reducing gun violence, but, as this report illustrates, there is still work to do to save lives and ease this horrific epidemic’s cost to the state.”
“By taking action to reduce gun violence, we’ll save lives, build safer communities, and ease this horrific epidemic’s cost to the state,” Nico Bocour, State Legislative Director at Giffords. “The leaders of Baltimore and Annapolis should be commended for recognizing the need to invest in our cities and work together to prevent tragedies before they happen. Our organization is proud to support Delegate Lierman and Senator Conway as they push for their bill that will help Maryland continue to make progress in reducing gun violence.”
The report released today from Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence notes that local businesses are severely impacted when gun violence occurs because it keeps customers and tourists away and often limits hours of operation. On average, there are 1,672 shootings in Maryland each year, resulting in direct measurable cost of over $1.3 billion. That includes:
Healthcare costs: $70 million
Law enforcement and criminal justice expenses: $145 million
Costs to employers: $8 million
Lost income: $1.1 billion
Much of this tab is picked up by the public. Up to 85% of gunshot victims, for example, are either uninsured or on some form of publicly funded insurance. Additionally, law enforcement efforts are funded entirely by taxpayer dollars. As a result, the direct annual cost of gun violence to Maryland taxpayers is approximately $294 million.
Even more striking, when indirect costs that impact families and communities are factored in the overall estimate the economic cost of gun violence rises to $3.6 billion per year.
Giffords is also supporting research and programs to fight urban gun violence in order to help save lives and lessen the economic impact of gun violence. Last December, Giffords Law Center, in partnership with PICO National Network and the Community Justice Reform Coalition, released a landmark report, Investing in Intervention: The Critical Role of State-Level Support in Breaking the Cycle of Urban Gun Violence, which highlights innovative programs in three states, including New York, that dramatically reduce levels of gun violence in impacted communities.
Leaders in Maryland speak out in support of HB 432 which will establish the Maryland Violence Intervention and Prevention Program Fund
“As a Maryland legislator representing Baltimore City, I have spoken to innumerable residents who have stories of how gun violence in our state and City have affected their lives,” said Maryland State Delegate Brooke Lierman. “I’ve heard from grieving parents who have lost sons and daughters, concerned neighbors, and anxious business owners. I am committed to pushing forward evidence-based solutions to help stem the tide of gun violence we are experiencing.”
“We often hear about the emotional and psychological cost of gun violence, but we don’t look at the actual monetary cost to our cities and communities,” said Jen Pauliukonis, President at Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence. “If we want to create sustainable and prosperous communities, we must invest in gun violence reducing policies and programs. We cannot hope to increase the quality of life in our struggling neighborhoods until we create safer spaces for families and businesses.”
“Violence is a health issue,” said Dr. Gary Slutkin, Founder and CEO of Cure Violence. “It makes our communities sick. The economic cost of violence in Maryland is astounding, but we can make our most violent communities safer and healthier and reduce these costs by using health and public health approaches. Violence interrupters and outreach workers reduce violence and prevent spread. They work one-on-one with those most likely to be violent, and successfully talk people out of it. We can cure violence. When violence goes away, communities can be healthier and can thrive.”
Leaders in Annapolis are also working to ban dangerous device used in Las Vegas
Maryland lawmakers are also considering a proposal to ban bump stocks that would help with this public health problem. More than a dozen states across the country have begun to take action to pass these dangerous devices. That includes Massachusetts and New Jersey where bills were signed into law by Republican officials with backing from Giffords. After the Las Vegas shooting, Giffords and SiX Action, an advocacy organization committed to achieving change at the state level, released a state legislative toolkit for addressing bump stocks, that details legislative options for lawmakers who want to take action.