Every legally sold firearm in America carries a retail price. A .223 caliber Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, for example, costs about $900. The VO Falcon Edition, a Swedish hunting rifle made of "Damascus steel" and covered in falcon engravings, costs $820,000.
But every gun carries another sort of price, according to Bloomberg, which took the total costs associated with gun-related violence (about $174 billion, according to an aggregate of government data by the Maryland-based Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation) and divided them by the number of guns in circulation (some 270 million, per data compiled by the U.N.), and came up with $644 per legally-owned gun. That covers the "work lost, medical care, insurance, criminal-justice expenses and pain and suffering" associated with gun violence, and might be one to think on over the holidays as the post-Newtown gun debate rages on.
While that estimate of $174 billion in hidden costs is staggering enough, it's not exactly out of the ballpark: in 2008, two Duke economists set their estimate far lower, at $100 billion dollars.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.