Gun Murders in Missouri Increase after Easing of Gun Control Laws

Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Gun sale at a Missouri gun shop (photo: Jeff Roberson, AP)

The state of Missouri experienced a sharp increase in gun homicides after it relaxed its gun control laws, according to a recent study.


Until eight years ago, Missouri had one of the country’s toughest gun control laws. They required anyone purchasing a gun permit to undergo a background check in person at a sheriff’s office. But in 2007, the state legislature repealed that law and has since adopted others making gun ownership less restricted, including one last year that allowed those as young as 19 to carry a concealed weapon.


Six years after the background checks were repealed, the gun homicide rate had gone up 16%, according to research by Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. During the same period, the national rate declined by 11%.


“After Professor Webster controlled for poverty and other factors that could influence the homicide rate, and took into account homicide rates in other states, the result was slightly higher, rising by 18 percent in Missouri,” The New York Times’ Sabrina Tavernise wrote.


Federal data released last month showed that from 1999 to 2006, Missouri’s gun homicide rate was 13.8% higher than the national rate. After the background checks were repealed, from 2008 to 2014, it was 47% higher.


Researchers cautioned the Times that the increased homicide rate was not shown to be tied to the changes in the law.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

In Missouri, Fewer Gun Restrictions and More Gun Killings (by Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times)

Effects of the Repeal of Missouri’s Handgun Purchaser Licensing Law on Homicides (by Daniel Webster, Journal of Urban Health) (abstract)

Should Gun Buyers be Subjected to Same Scrutiny as Abortion Seekers? (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Missouri Law would Allow Arrest of Federal Agents Enforcing National Gun Laws (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Robert Stanton 7 years ago
This article is BS. It's cherry picked data for a predetermined conclusion - MORE GUN CONTROL. For the truth about Missouri and what this article does not tell you go here: Be American and stop listening to "dual-citizen" nonsense.
Spencer 8 years ago
This 'study' is a phoney as a $3 bill. They picked one state that changed gun laws and saw in an increase in violent crime. An increase that had been happening for a couple of years before. They ignored states where similar laws were repealed (say VA), and there was no change or a reduction in crime. You can always find statistical outliers. That's why studies that 'cherry pick' data like this are meaningless. And besides, it was published by gun control maven Michael Bloomberg's self-endowed 'school' at Johns Hopkins. He spent $250 million on this school, and this is his payback. Lots of quasi-scientific propaganda.
Gene Ralno 8 years ago
We need to start dealing with the real problem -- not gun murders -- just murders. Clearly St. Louis is the most dangerous city in America with 49.9 murders per 100,000. Anyone looking at the long picture would deduce that Missourians demanded an easier path to protect themselves from the Ferguson mindset that's been brewing for decades. And none of those people who armed themselves are responsible for the astonishing murder rate. Fact is the Ferguson mindset is responsible for those murders and the people have a constitutionally guaranteed right to self-protection. American principles are unique by the heavy investment of ultimate sovereignty in the individual. Freedom doesn’t exist for the nation unless it first exists for the individual. Citizens must be free to think without indoctrination, speak without censure, assemble without disruption, and believe anything without persecution. But individual sovereignty also means freedom to defend oneself and one’s family by any means, including today’s technology manifested by firearms. Accepting that personal sovereignty is subject to whims of another person, or even the state, fundamentally alters the principle and destroys the U.S. constitutional republic form of government. Leftists promise Utopian bliss but deliver misery. Individual sovereignty isn’t always peaceful and doesn’t guarantee survival. But it does reflect human nature and succeeds with individual compassion.
N230099 8 years ago
FTA: "...anyone purchasing a gun permit to undergo a background check in person at a sheriff’s office. The law did not repeal the legal obligation to undergo a background check. If the person is buying a firearm at a FFL dealer the check is still performed. As always, criminals buy and sell at will regardless. What was changed was to eliminate the personal discretion of the Sheriff. THis requirement is less to verify eligibility and more to knowing who has a firearm. I think we can all agree that that is none of the government's business.
anonamouse 8 years ago
I don't own a gun, and I never will. So I have no dog in this fight. That said, this article is BS, and its implied thesis, that changes in the law changed people's behavior, is not supported by Reality. For one thing, half of those who die by gunshot are suicides: did easier gun laws raise the suicide rate? For another, Chicago has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, yet is ranked among the most violent cities in the country: would it be any more violent if those laws were relaxed (and if they were, would the resulting gun deaths be the result of newly legal owners defending themselves)? Prohibition of anything, whether drugs, guns or, say, abortion, may result in statistical reduction of the prohibited behavior, but only among those whose commitment to that behavior is low --- the "law abiding" citizen. For the rest, Prohibition simply introduces a complication that is solved by gangsters stepping in to supply the desired goods or services. About 2.5 million people die in the US every year and of these, 0.006% die of gunshots not self-inflicted. Huge problem, or agenda-driven issue?

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