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Missouri Shows Repealing Gun Laws Increases Gun Deaths

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While Montana legislators are hell-bent on making every corner of Montana into what they imagine the Wild West looked like, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research have found that the state of Missouri demonstrates the dangers of repealing gun laws. From the New York Times:

in the first six years after the state repealed the requirement for comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, the gun homicide rate was 16 percent higher than it was the six years before. During the same period, the national rate declined by 11 percent. 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.

Americans support background checks for guns by an overwhelming majority, with over 80% of Americans arguing that we need tougher gun laws.

Though you would never guess it, given the NRA’s rigid adherence to an absolutist policy that compares background checks to totalitarianism, almost three-quarters of NRA members support background checks on the purchase of all guns.

No one who supports background checks believes that they can solve the crisis of gun violence in this country, but there’s simply no reason to allow people to purchase weapons without a simple, quick, and inexpensive background check that might prevent someone who shouldn’t have a gun from getting one.

The next time someone from the Montana Shooting Sports Association claims, either in a legislative hearing he’s hijacked or to the media, that easier access to guns will increase safety, I hope someone will ask him to explain the Missouri experience—and answer why, when background checks would both be effective and popular, Montana shouldn’t mandate them for all gun sales.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

18 Comments

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  • IN 2014 Missouri had 26,000 violent crime of which only 10,000 were successfully prosecuted. Which tells me that their criminals have a better than 2.5 to 1 chance of not being caught.

    Here’s something new, how about enforcing the thousands of laws on the books instead of making new ones that we will ignore.

  • How about some intellectual discussions on the matter of compliance?

    “Americans Resist Gun Confiscation
    Both New York and Connecticut imposed strict new rules on the possession and sale of guns after Sandy Hook. Among these were requirements for the registration of so-called assault rifles in both states and in New York a ban on “high-capacity” magazines regardless of when they were manufactured or purchased. Compliance with the registration requirement has been modest at best, as hundreds of thousands of gun owners in both states refused to register their weapons. So far, then, the laws have been most successful in creating hundreds of thousands of lawbreakers who feel obligated to break the law.

    If New York and Connecticut won’t go along, what do Democrats expect would happen in “red” states?
    New York and Connecticut are two of the “bluest” states in the Union, states with staunchly liberal Democratic governors and legislatures dominated by Democrats and Northeastern Republicans who vote for gun control. Yet the residents of these states have refused to go along with the kinds of laws that gun-control advocates view as a minimum for what they would like to see adopted at the federal level. If New York and Connecticut won’t go along, what do they expect would happen in “red” states?Progressives will not answer that question because they never ask it, not even to themselves, lest somehow they say it out loud. On guns, the Left is incoherent, even insincere. It won’t say what it wants because what it wants is “a nonstarter politically, unfeasible in reality, and, by the way, completely unconstitutional”—that is, confiscation on the Australian model.Liberals refuse to confront the implications of their Australian dream because doing so would force them to give that dream up. Those implications are easy to spell out, though. A national gun buyback law would turn a significant portion of the American people into criminals. Residents of New York and Connecticut snubbed their new laws. The other 48 states are not New York and Connecticut. Civil disobedience on a national scale would ensue.”-The Federalist.

    • If you speed past a cop you get pulled over. What does it say about trust in Government when there’s blatant law breaking in front of officers?

      Why are you guys backing us into a corner?

      • My question to you, Swede, is why would any law-abiding citizen be opposed to having a background check before purchasing a gun?

          • I guess you’re suggesting that there will be a gradual erosion of all gun rights, which isn’t true. Not sure the abortion analogy works, Swede. One can be committed to a woman’s right to choose and still have concerns over late-term abortions. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re afraid that all rights to choose will be taken away (although I’m sure the right wing wouldn’t mind seeing that happen).

            • I see. The slippery slope only slides one way.

              Colorado, California, Connecticut, New York and Washington newly passed laws are not erosion related?

  • If background checks didn’t amount to a list of gun owners, then maybe we could live with a simple check. But in California a few years back people had to register their assault rifles, only to have the state take them a few years later. Honest people are the ones who get punished, not criminals who ignore the law.

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