The recent RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll regarding the NY SAFE Act, published Jan. 24, raises a question readers of this publication should be asking: Is the SAFE Act good for business in Rochester?
Aside from numerous polls that indicate many people favor specific provisions of the act yet still seem to want to repeal it, we might start with what the business community knows. There is little question that aside from the gun industry itself, the extraordinarily high rate of gun violence in our nation has a negative impact on business.
Consider the higher taxes imposed upon us all to pay for police, courts and jails dealing with the direct result of gun violence. Add to that the increased costs for health care, particularly trauma care, and the lost productivity from a high suicide rate (there is more than enough evidence to show that access to guns increases suicide rates). These are only a few of the hidden costs borne by business with no counterbalancing benefit. Archaic laws also discourage foreign investment in an environment perceived as being racked by gun violence. With a diminishing quality of life as the number of mall shooting catches up to school shootings, we are less likely to be viewed as a place to move a business to.
Business opportunities are also stifled as entrepreneurs both large and small are wary of risking adventures in market areas seen as dangerous as overhead for security and insurance costs skyrocket everywhere. And whether true or not, we see the perception is that those areas now include every movie theater in America, and we all know the power of perception on consumer confidence. Failure to recognize the liability of maintaining a failed status quo in a changing market is a sure-fire path to business death. Savvy businesspeople recognize that long-term investments are a key to a sustainable enterprise.
As New York leads the way to reduce burdensome ancillary business costs, it becomes clear the SAFE Act is a long-term investment in making New York and Rochester a better place to do business.
Leah Gunn Barrett
Executive director, New Yorkers Against
Gun Violence, New York City
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Gun violence is bad for business