Op-ed laments Missouri's push toward gun rights restoration

Glock Model 21" by Michael @ NW Lens is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED.

The term “gun rights” should be something that cannot be expanded. It simply is.

However, our right to keep and bear arms has been so heavily restricted for decades that any restoration of our rights is, in essence, and expansion of those rights. After all, none of us have ever experienced a world free from gun control.


And a lot of people are working towards that restoration. One state doing so is Missouri.

It also seems a lot of people aren’t happy about it.

Despite a growing sense of urgency to address gun violence in the state’s two largest cities and a mass shooting at a high school last fall, the Missouri General Assembly has been slow to pursue any gun reforms.

Kristin Bowen, a deputy chapter leader for Moms Demand Action, which is a national organization advocating for stronger gun laws, is often in Jefferson City testifying. Bowen said when she is advocating for stricter gun laws she thinks about the recent bar shooting in Cape Girardeau, which left five injured, and shootings like the one last fall at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, which killed two and injured seven.

“Instead of pushing to loosen our already incredibly loose gun laws, we should be taking steps in the other direction to face the gun violence crisis that we have in our state,” Bowen said. “…Quite honestly, you can draw a clear line from our weak gun laws and our undermined public safety to the tragic events that we’ve been seeing around the state.”

There have been just over 5,000 gun-related deaths and about 8,000 injuries in Missouri since 2014, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. Gun-related deaths have increased 70% from 2011 to 2020 in Missouri, compared to a 33% nationwide increase, according to data from Every Stat, which is Everytown for Gun Safety’s research base.


That may well be true, but it’s interesting they started their data at 2011 versus, say, 2010 where it would give us an even 10-year span. People tend to do things in certain patterns, such as even versus odd numbers, multiple of five and 10, etc.

So this was a nine-year span, which seems odd. And there’s a reason why.

In 2010, there were 420 murders in Missouri. In 2011, just 366. That’s just 87 percent of the previous year.

Follow that up with 2020 which had 723 murders, and yeah, you’ve got a huge jump, but less of a jump than from 2010.

Further, we all know that 2020 was a particularly bad year for violent crime in general. In fact, by 2021, the total number of murders dropped to 593. Still higher than the 2011 figure, to be sure, but a far cry below 2020’s figures.

What Everytown did was pick a relatively low point in homicides in Missouri–you’d have to go back to 2004 to find a power one–then compare it to a high point and pretend like it’s proof that Missouri’s restoration of gun rights is somehow behind this.

It’s not.

First, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

Everytown is a gun control group, despite the use of the term “gun safety.” They don’t care about reducing crime, they care about reducing access to guns. As a result, they tend to look at such data very myopically. They want to find a link to gun rights, so they find one.


The problem is that no one is looking any deeper.

Homicide and violent crime in general are much more complicated than many believe. The roots of that violence are poorly understood, though there are a number of things that can be linked to it, yet we still haven’t found definitive causes as to why some people turn to violent crime.

If we did that, no gun control in the world would be “required” because we could focus our attention on preventative measures that respect our gun rights. (The word “required” is in quotes because I don’t think it’s required now.)

Yet groups like Everytown pretend to be engaged in research and study, only it’s to advance their own narrative through deeply biased “research,” such as this.

Missouri may have seen a significant uptick in homicides, but so did everywhere else. Everytown isn’t doing anyone any favors by trying to manipulate data to imply that gun rights restorations is the cause.


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