A research team from Johns Hopkins studying the consequences of Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase handgun law says the action resulted in an immediate spike in gun violence and murders. The law had required prospective buyers to be scrutinized by the local sheriff and obtain a license before purchase.
“Coincident exactly with the policy change, there was an immediate upward trajectory to the homicide rates in Missouri,” said Prof. Daniel Webster. Webster is director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
“That upward trajectory did not happen with homicides that did not involve guns; it did not occur to any neighboring state; the national trend was doing the opposite—it was trending downward; and it was not specific to one or two localities—it was, for the most part, state-wide.”
The team conducting the study accounted for changes in policing levels and incarceration rates, burglary trends, and statistically controlled for other factors including changes in poverty and unemployment.
The researchers also noted a doubling of the number of handguns, shortly after sale, recovered from crime scenes or from criminals.