Every year, more than 36,000 Americans are killed by gun violence, and approximately 100,000 more are shot and wounded.1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) Fatal Injury Reports, Nonfatal Injury Reports. The CDC derives national estimates of nonfatal firearm injuries treated in hospitals from a survey of hospitals known as the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). According to the CDC, some of these estimates may be unstable. The CDC’s nonfatal injury data has come under scrutiny largely because of increasing error margins in recent years. Nonetheless, data provided by the CDC on nonfatal injuries are the most common data currently used in gun violence prevention research. To account for fluctuations between years, a yearly average was developed using five years of the most recent available data: 2013 to 2017. The impact of gun violence stretches across the nation: 58 percent of American adults or someone they care for have experienced gun violence in their lifetime.2SurveyUSA Market Research Study #24554. Data collected from December 7, 2018 to December 10, 2018. Published December 11, 2018. bit.ly/2ExxpyZ. See question 39. Gun violence is scarring the country physically, emotionally, and financially. In short, we are a nation of gun violence survivors, and these survivors are your colleagues, employees, and customers.
National and local economies are stifled by gun violence
Gun violence costs the American economy billions of dollars every year, including approximately $49 billion annually in victims’ lost wages and productivity.3Lee J, Lurie J. 16 charts that show the shocking cost of gun violence in America. Mother Jones. April 15, 2015. https://bit.ly/2IIJiUD. Gun violence has a local impact too: Communities that experience gun violence are less likely to be hubs for economic growth and commerce, and face lower property values, fewer business startups and loss of jobs. One study estimated that surges in gun homicides slowed home-value appreciation by 4 percent. In Washington, DC, each gun homicide in a given year was associated with two fewer retail and service establishments the next year. In Minneapolis, each homicide in a given year led to 80 fewer jobs the following year.4Irvin-Erickson Y, Lynch M, Gurvis A, Mohr E, Bai B. Urban Institute. A neighborhood-level analysis of the economic impact of gun violence. https://urbn.is/2GQ18oA. June 2017.
Gun violence happens in the workplace
Companies are not immune from gun violence; it can happen anywhere. In 2017, there were 351 gun homicides in US workplaces—an average of nearly one person killed every day.5United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). Table A-2: Fatal occupational injuries resulting from transportation incidents and homicides, all United States, 2017. https://bit.ly/2W7xWwt. Published 2018. In fact, since 1999, there have been nearly four times as many mass shootings in the workplace as there have been in schools.6Densley J, Peterson J. We can do more to prevent mass workplace shootings like Aurora, Illinois. USA Today. February 21, 2019. https://bit.ly/2IYkTtA.
On July 28, 2006, my life changed forever when a man walked into my workplace and began to shoot. He shot six women, one of whom died as I hid in terror. The psychological, financial, and physical toll this event had on me cannot be underestimated. I wish my company had understood that trauma does not go away. It changes, it eases. But it does not stop. In many cases, work is our home away from home. Shouldn’t we feel as safe at work as we do at home? It’s meaningful to see companies coming out to support gun safety and I believe it is important for others to follow their lead.Tammy Kaiser, Gun Violence Survivor
Gun violence impacts your employees
Survivors of gunshot injuries experience difficulties that include psychological trauma and reduced quality of life, steep medical costs, and loss of productivity and work. Estimates suggest that work loss—the value of work an individual is unable to do as a result of injury—totals an average of $50,787 for each survivor of a firearm assault.7Zonfrillo MR, Spicer RS, Lawrence BA, Miller TR. Incidence and costs of injuries to children and adults in the United States. Injury Epidemiology. 2018; 5(37): 1-6. These challenges make work difficult or impossible for victims, while many Americans directly impacted by gun violence struggle to reintegrate into the workforce at all.
On April 15, 2005, I was shot and nearly killed while walking into the NBC television affiliate in Detroit — a place where I was once employed. As a result of the shooting, I have a spinal cord injury. After months of intense physical therapy I learned to walk short distances, but I have been in some form of pain 24/7 since 2005. We’ve seen over the years that gun violence affects every part of our society. I believe that employers have to be a part of the solution on this issue.John Owens, Gun Violence Survivor
Customers want businesses to take a stand on gun safety
Americans believe corporations have a responsibility to speak out on political and social issues, including gun safety. A recent study revealed that 68 percent of respondents believe it is appropriate for a corporation to take a position on gun safety.8Global Strategy Group. Doing business in an activist world: 6th annual business & politics study. https://bit.ly/2GAMKgL. Published February 2019. Millennials, an important consumer demographic, feel particularly strongly about gun safety: A poll found that gun violence was the number one voting issue among young people, with 91 percent saying a candidate’s position on guns is important when deciding who to vote for in 2018.9 Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence. Young people demand action on gun violence. https://every.tw/2XF5Zwu. Published March 2018.
Every business can do something about gun violence in America
American businesses and business leaders have a critical role to play in keeping customers, employees, and communities safe. Gun violence tragedies have an indelible and devastating impact on all of us. No business is immune from gun violence, and many are closer to the solution than they think.
Everytown for Gun Safety is engaging US businesses in the financial, technology, retail, hospitality, and real estate industries to implement responsible measures to reduce gun violence. Whether your company wants to find ways to protect your employees and customers, help advance policy measures to combat gun violence, or promote gun safety through business practices, there are ways for your company to get involved.
If you are interested in learning more about Everytown’s work with the business community, please email [email protected].