New Report released today as New Jersey Legislature Moves a Package of Bills to Reduce Gun Violence in the Garden State
April 23, 2018—Today Giffords unveiled a new analysis that details the damage gun violence exacts on New Jersey’s economy. The research, compiled by Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, made possible by a grant from the Fund for New Jersey, finds that the overall economic cost of gun violence in New Jersey exceeds $3.3 billion, with a direct annual cost to New Jersey taxpayers of approximately $273 million. The new report, “The Economic Cost of Gun Violence in New Jersey,” highlights the need for lawmakers at the state legislature to build on the important, lifesaving victories in previous years.
“Every time gun violence devastates a family, the whole community suffers,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Our research makes it clear the entire state is impacted when victims and their families are hurt by gunfire. Healthcare providers, employers, law enforcement, and local businesses are burdened with enormous costs following a shooting. New Jersey 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.”
The comprehensive report, released today by Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, notes that local businesses are severely impacted when gun violence occurs, as shootings keep customers and tourists away and often limit hours of operation. On average, there are 2,014 shootings in New Jersey each year, resulting in directly measurable costs of over $1.2 billion annually. That includes:
Healthcare costs: $93 million
Law enforcement and criminal justice expenses: $131 million
Costs to employers: $8 million
Lost income: $918 million
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 New Jersey taxpayers is approximately $273 million.
Even more striking, when indirect costs that impact families and communities are factored in, the overall estimate of the economic cost of gun violence rises to $3.3 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—Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts—that dramatically reduce levels of gun violence in impacted communities.
Leaders in New Jersey speak out in support of reducing gun violence in the Garden State:
“One of the keys to success in public policy, especially reducing gun violence, is the effort to get people engaged and informed. When that happens there is no doubt that public interest can prevail. We have the ability, as citizens, to overcome the power and financing of special interests like the gun lobby,” said Governor James Florio. “We’ve shown that we can do it in New Jersey and we can do it across the country as well. This report gives us the tools that we need to fight for even stronger gun laws for our state, and details the importance of regulating military-style weapons that no hunter or sportsman needs to use.”
“With over 100,000 people shot each year in the United States, gun violence is, without a doubt, one of the most pressing issues facing our communities, towns, cities, states, and country,” said NJ Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. “It is every single day in the United States that people are directly affected by gun violence, and it does not stop when that day is over. Families are affected, bodies are affected, and minds are affected for years to come. We all bear this cost and it is our responsibility to do something about it.”
“The cost of losing a loved one to gun violence is unfathomable and it is far-reaching,” said NJ Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald. “Gun violence truly affects everyone, and with this report we can see precisely the impact it has on our communities, economy, and society as a whole—and that impact is staggering. Here in New Jersey we have taken great strides—in recent weeks in particular—to improve gun safety. The package of bills moving through the senate today reaffirms our commitment to keeping our neighborhoods and communities safe, but this report confirms that we have even more work to do.”
“The cost of gun violence to our families, businesses, and communities is just not good,” said NJ Assemblyman Jamel Holley. “We had a moral imperative to continue our gun safety efforts before we knew these numbers, but now we know where our work isn’t done. We must continue to build a safer future for New Jersey, period.”
Giffords is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence. Led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Giffords inspires the courage of people from all walks of life to make America safer.
For nearly 25 years, the legal experts at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence have been fighting for a safer America by researching, drafting, and defending the laws, policies, and programs proven to save lives from gun violence.