Gun Murders Went Up After Missouri Repealed Background Check Law

| by Michael Allen

More people have been murdered with guns in Missouri since the state relaxed its gun laws in 2007, says a new study to be published in the Journal of Urban Health.

The study, conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy, found that murders went up in Missouri by 55 to 63 each year, between 2008 and 2012, after the state allowed people to buy handguns without a simple background check, noted

In 2007, the state repealed its permit-to-purchase handgun law, which meant that unlicensed sellers didn't have to do background checks of buyers.

“There is strong evidence to support the idea that the repeal of Missouri’s handgun purchaser licensing law contributed to dozens of additional murders in Missouri each year since the law was changed,” the study authors said in a press release.

“Coincident exactly with the policy change, there was an immediate upward trajectory to the homicide rates in Missouri,” Professor Daniel Webster, head of the study, told BBC News (audio below).

Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy's Jon Vernick added, “Because many perpetrators of homicide have backgrounds that would prohibit them from possessing firearms under federal law, they seek out private dealers to acquire their weapons."

The increase in murders hasn't bothered Missouri's Republican-controlled legislature, which is trying to pass a law banning federal gun laws, which would not hold up in court, notes Time magazine.

Sources: EurekAlert, BBC News,, Time