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550,000 hospitalized from gun injuries between 2000 and 2016, research shows

550,000 hospitalized from gun injuries between 2000 and 2016, research shows
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More than half a million people were hospitalized as a result of gun injuries from 2000 to 2016, according to a new study published Tuesday by California-based think tank the RAND Corporation. 

The report, part of the group’s Gun Policy in America initiative to measure the impacts of firearm legislation, found that based on data available on gun injuries, roughly 550,000 people were treated for gunshot wounds at hospitals over the 16-year period. 

While the think tank noted that the information on nationwide gunshot wound hospitalizations is limited, as there is no comprehensive national database of gunshot injuries, Tuesday’s report follows previous studies indicating that a substantial amount of health care funds are being spent to treat victims of gun violence. 

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Each year, approximately $2.8 billion of health care spending is devoted to gun-related hospital visits, according to a 2017 study published in the Health Affairs journal

The data, drawn from State Inpatient Databases and other state health department data, showed that from 2000 to 2016, the most firearm injuries that required hospitalization occurred in Louisiana, where there was an injury hospitalization rate of 24 per 100,000 residents each year. 

Louisiana was followed by Tennessee with an annual rate of 18 per 100,000, with Missouri, Alabama and Maryland tied for third at a rate of 16 per 100,000. 

The national rate of firearm injury hospitalizations remained relatively constant from 2000 to 2016, with an annual high of about 10 hospitalizations resulting from gunshot wounds per 100,000 people. 

The findings come amid a reignited debate over gun control legislation in response to a wave of deadly mass shootings that have rocked the nation in recent months, including the March attack in Boulder, Colo., that left 10 people dead, including an on-duty police officer, as well as April’s mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility that left nine people dead, including the gunman. 

President Biden has called on Congress to pass a federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which he reiterated last week during his first address to a joint session of Congress. 

“We need a ban on assault weapons and high capacity again. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. We did it before and it worked,” Biden said, referring to the 10-year ban on assault weapons passed in 1994 while he served in the Senate. 

Biden has also urged Senate Republicans to back House-passed bills that would strengthen background checks and close the so-called Charleston loophole by extending the time federal investigators have to conduct background checks.