Missouri's Constitutional Carry Law Blamed For Homicide Rate

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The state of Missouri is one of several that have passed constitutional carry in recent years. It’s been one of the feel-good, pro-gun stories we’ve seen recently. It’s the latest in a series of pro-gun laws passed by the state

While Texas is getting all the press, Missouri did it first.

Now, some in the state are blaming the law and its pro-gun predecessors for the increase in homicides.

In the days after the shooting, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker pointed out it might never have happened if not for rollbacks in Missouri gun laws.

Over the past two decades, Missouri lawmakers have carried out a long-term dismantling of virtually all of the state’s significant gun restrictions. That has left the state in the bottom five for the weakest gun laws in the country.

That has meant repealing permit and safety training requirements to buy guns and carry them concealed, and expanding legal safeguards for using deadly force in self-defense.

Researchers point to the 2007 General Assembly session specifically for its repeal of the requirement to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun.

That one piece of legislation led to anywhere from 49 to 68 additional firearms deaths each year in Missouri over the following decade, Johns Hopkins researchers found.

Of course, they don’t just blame constitutional carry. They blame any repeal of Missouri’s gun laws over the years.

However, I’m obviously skeptical of these kinds of claims.

For one thing, permit-to-purchase requirements have absolutely no impact on criminals who don’t go to licensed gun stores to buy guns. Purchase permits might have an impact on straw buys, but those are actually only a small portion of illegal gun purchases.

Let’s remember that the causes of things like murder are varied and complicated. We can’t look at a case like this and clearly attribute it to an expansion of gun rights.

Especially when we don’t see similar spikes in other states after they repeal similar laws.

Of course, then there’s the question of just how they reached these particular numbers. The methodology used isn’t mentioned in the press release, nor in the abstract for the study itself, except to say they used death certificate data. While that information is probably accurate so far as it goes, it leaves a great deal out about specifics.

And since we’ve seen academia have a profound anti-Second Amendment bias in recent years, I have absolutely no reason to take this study at face value.

Especially since this isn’t one of those things we can actually look at and experiment with to see if it’s true or not.

Instead, it simply finds correlations and the researchers–researchers who are likely biased against guns in the first place–try to determine of there’s causation. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at it and wonder what other potential causes they looked at. Remember that 2007 is right before the economy went into the tank due to the housing bubble bursting. Poor economies often lead to increases in crime across the board, including violent crime.

Is it possible that Missouri went a little further down that rabbit hole than other states?

What other laws were passed that year? Could any of them have led to an increase in violent crime?

Stories like this get a lot of play in the media because it plays on the media’s inherent anti-Second Amendment bias, but there seem to be issues with this study, much like every other anti-gun study we’ve seen.

Dec 08, 2021 12:30 PM ET