LETTER TO THE EDITOR: New Virginia gun law will boost violence, costs

Story Topics
Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

By lifting the gun purchase limit, the state of Virginia can expect to see a lifting of its violence limits as well (“Va. Senate votes to repeal one-gun-a-month law,” Web, Feb. 6).

Virginia already has one of the highest rates of availability of small arms, ranking 36th out of 50, with 50 as the highest. It also has high rates of homicide (ranked 26th), high rates of incarceration (ranked 39th), and high rates of police per capita (ranked 23rd).

In our rankings on the U.S. Peace Index, we look at five indicators of violence: homicide, violent crime, incarceration rates, police per capita and availability of small arms. Virginia ranked 25th on the 2011 U.S. Peace Index, a ranking that is likely to worsen given the latest news coming out of Richmond.

The trend heralds bad news for tight budgets overseen by Gov. Bob McDonnell. Nearly unlimited availability of handguns will lead to increases in violence, which will continue to cost state coffers.

Virginia’s high rates of violence are already costing almost $9.7 billion. Mr. McDonnell should keep in mind that homicides are a drain on his state’s limited revenue, not only in medical costs but also in lost economic productivity ($1.3 million per homicide). Incarceration also costs money. Few states know this better than Virginia, which locks up many of its prisoners in expensive solitary confinement, costing the state’s taxpayers an average of $30,000 per prisoner per year.

If the governor wants to boost Virginia budgets, he should cut costs by containing violence. The way to do this is to lower Virginia’s scores on the five indicators previously mentioned. The new law to remove a limit on handgun access, however, does just the opposite.


U.S. Vice President

Institute for Economics and Peace


© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts