The Cost of Protecting America: Financial Implications of Obama’s Gun Control Policies

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Can President Obama balance the economic implications of regulating guns? Image by Mateusz Atroszko

Can President Obama balance the economic implications of regulating guns? Image by Mateusz Atroszko

Gun Reform: How Much Will it All Cost?

How much will Obama’s gun control plans cost? Expenditure on the police force alone will amount to billions. It would cost an estimated $4 billion to carry out the intended increase in street patrols, and a further $20 million to improve the violent crime reporting system. The increased training requirements of officers, if widespread, could also run to millions, if not billions, of dollars.

Obama has indicated that he wants $30 million put aside for school grants. Considering, however, that there are just short of 100,000 schools in America (not including institutes of higher education such as universities), this amount translates to only around $300 per school, raising questions about how realistic and feasible these financial targets are, and concerns over the potential spiralling of expenditure.

Add to these, the potential revenue loss from gun sales and licenses, and we could see a considerable hole in the United States’ budget.

Firearms Bans Cost Money: How Will This Be Funded?

These preliminary proposals are new and many are yet to be passed or put into action. Having just renegotiated and made assurances over tax rates as part of the 2013 fiscal policy, the government may want to avoid any tax hikes to fund the schemes. This raises questions over the ways the U.S. government could fund a gun ban or other firearm control measures. For example, how would the reclaiming of existing assault rifles be carried out in the wake of an outright ban? In Australia, a plan to buy back weapons was successfully funded by a temporary tax increase of 1%; could we expect the same in the U.S.?

Guns in America: Bans, Controls, and Taxes

Whichever gun control proposals become reality, the President faces a careful balancing act; responding to demands to improve the protection of US citizens from gun crime and responding to citizens demanding Second Amendment rights, while avoiding plunging further into debt in what is already a critical financial year.

Resources:

New York Times. What’s in Obama’s Gun Control Proposal? (2013). Accessed January 2013.

Peters, J. How Many Assault Weapons are There in America? (2012). Accessed January 2013.

Institute of Education Sciences. Educational InstitutionsAccessed January 2013.

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