In 2007, Missouri repealed a law requiring gun buyers to get a license demonstrating they’d first passed a background check. The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research tracked the results. NPR says the center is reporting its findings in the Journal of Urban Health. The law’s repeal was associated with an additional 55 to 63 murders per year in Missouri between 2008 and 2012.
“If the law is responsible for the increase in homicide rates, we would’ve seen an increase in the diversion of guns to criminals,” center director Daniel Webster tells NPR. “Looking at data from guns traced to crime, that’s precisely what we found. We found, basically, a twofold increase in the proportion of guns that were being recovered from criminals in crime scenes that had been purchased after the repeal of this law when there’s less accountability in the system.” He adds that during the same period, bordering states aggregated saw a 2.2 percent decline in firearm homicide rates and nationally there was a 5.5 percent reduction in firearm homicide rates.