Commentary: Economic impact of mass shootings

People hold up their cellphones as the names of the victims of the Aug. 3 mass shooting are read during a memorial service, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, at Southwest University Park, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/Jorge Salgado)

Economic impact of mass shootings

The Perryman Groups uses its own econometric model and impact assessment system to measure a number of economic effects on the economy.

Now it has turned its attention of the cost of mass shooting beyond the human tragedy involved.

“Mass shootings are tragedies with immeasurable costs to victims and their families. At the same time, they cause tremendous and quantifiable economic harm,” the organization said in announcing a new study.

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The Perryman Group estimated the magnitude of these harms in order to provide a perspective on the high costs.

“The focus in these all-too-frequent attacks should always be on the victims and their families,” said Dr. Ray Perryman, founder and President of The Perryman Group.

“In a brief moment, lives are permanently altered in ways that have lingering effects for generations to come. No one can begin to place a value on the pain and disruptions caused to innocent people just going about their daily routines,” Perryman said.

But there is an economic impact as well, according to a report released Sept. 3 by the Perryman Group.

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“Our purpose in providing this assessment is simply to make others aware that the costs randomly imposed on these innocent people also reverberate through the economy in material ways,” Perryman said in the announcement of the study’s release.

Since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, The Perryman Group estimates that losses to the U.S. economy from mass shootings total more than $20.5 billion in gross product and nearly 191,000 job-years due to death and injuries to victims.

In addition, the quality-of-life losses for victims and their families as traditionally measured total at least $9.5 billion, the release said.

“We focused our efforts on measuring only the economic harm stemming directly from the consequences to the victims,” Perryman said.

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“Society also suffers from enforcement and incarceration costs, diversion of resources into security measures at potentially vulnerable venues, economic and psychological impacts on the affected communities, increased uncertainty, and many other adverse outcomes. In addition to the much more important consequences for the victims and their families, dealing with the issue is an economic imperative,” he said.

The Perryman Group estimated economic losses to the United States associated with death and injuries incurred in mass shootings from Dec. 14, 2012 (Sandy Hook) to Aug. 31, 2019 (Odessa). The numbers reflect the effects of medical costs and lost earnings and are fully adjusted for the age distribution, worklife probabilities, labor force participation, and productivity potential of the victims.

“Note that these estimates measure only the effects from losses by the victims of mass shootings. It does not include investigative costs; incarceration costs; investments in security by schools, churches, and other entities; or many other dimensions of the economic costs of mass shootings. It also does not include other types of gun violence,” the Perryman group said in the announcement.

To see the report:

– FWBP Staff