The Las Vegas mass shooting has rekindled the US debate over gun restrictions. The shooting that left at least 59 dead and more than 500 injured also has surfaced data showing gun-related deaths and injuries and their clinical impact on the US health care system.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2014 there were 33,594 gun-related injuries, 21,386 suicides and 11,008 homicides. Other data suggests half of American households own at least one gun and that most guns, including ones used in mass shootings, are purchased or obtained legally.
A study published in Health Affairs indicates gun-related injuries send thousands of people to US emergency rooms annually. Men make up the vast majority offer admissions, and young men ages 20-24 are the most likely males to wind up in an ER. More than 8 percent of ER patients with gunshot wounds end up dying there.
The mean per person cost of emergency department care was $5,254. For the almost 38 percent of patients who are given inpatient care, the average cost is $95,887.
The authors of the study say that gun-related injuries represent a significant clinical and financial burden that might be reduced by implementing universal background checks for people with a history of violence or previous convictions.
It is worth noting that nearly twice as many Americans die each year from drug and alcohol-related causes, which US policy leaders have called a national epidemic.
Other CDC data indicates:
- 93 Americans – seven of whom are children and 50 are women – are killed on average every day with guns.
- The US homicide rate is 25 times larger than the average of other developed nations.
- Black men are 14 times more likely than their white counterparts to be shot or killed with guns.
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of a woman being shot and killed by five times.