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How Missouri’s Abysmal Gun Laws Shattered the Super Bowl Celebration

How the state can act prevent future tragedies following the Kansas City shooting.

In the somber aftermath of the tragic Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade shooting yesterday the urgency to address gun violence in Missouri has become more palpable than ever. Weak gun laws have been directly tied to higher rates of gun violence, and Missouri, unfortunately, exemplifies this trend with some of the weakest gun laws in the country. 

As of 2024, Missouri ranks in the bottom three on our Annual Gun Law Scorecard for weakest gun laws, trailing behind only Wyoming and Arkansas. Additionally, the state bears the burden of the sixth-highest gun death rate in the country, with almost 25 deaths per every 100,000 people.

The State Used to Have Stronger Gun Laws

But this tragedy wasn’t inevitable. In 2007, Missouri repealed a long-standing permitting law that had been in place since 1921. This law, requiring potential handgun purchasers to undergo a background check and obtain a permit from their local law enforcement department before purchasing, provided a crucial safety check. Initially perceived as eliminating an unnecessary bureaucratic process, the bill passed with virtually no opposition—only nine Democrats voted against it.

Unfortunately, subsequent research has shed light on the harsh consequences of that decision:

  • According to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, the repeal led to a 25% to 47% increase in firearms homicides and a 23.5% increase in firearms suicides in Missouri.
  • That same study found that this one piece of legislation led to anywhere from 49 to 68 additional firearms deaths each year in Missouri over the following decade.
  • Research from various Missouri universities and hospitals linked the repeal to a 21.8% increase in firearms suicide rates among young adults aged 19 to 24.

Less than a decade after this law was repealed, in 2016, Missouri further exacerbated the situation by passing a dangerous permitless concealed carry law, despite opposition from law enforcement, gun owners, and permit training course instructors. Recent studies suggest that permitless carry states are associated with double-digit increases in homicides and violent crime.

  • Studies show that weakening public carry laws is associated with a 13–15% increase in state-level violent crime rates, as well as an 11% increase in state-level rates of homicides committed with handguns. 
  • A 2022 study found that cities that adopted laxer concealed carry laws experienced a 13% increase in firearm homicides and a 29% increase in firearm violent crimes.
  • Other studies have similarly found that weaker concealed carry laws increase other forms of violence as well. One analysis found that states with weak or no regulations on concealed carry had 29% higher rates of workplace homicides committed with firearms. Another found that states which enacted permitless carry experienced a 13% increase in fatal and nonfatal police shootings of civilians compared to what would have been expected had stronger carrying standards remained in place.


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Missouri Must Reinstate Its Gun Safety Laws

Missouri must recognize the importance of reinstating basic gun violence prevention laws. Permit to purchase laws, a basic and commonsense protection, can help ensure firearms don’t fall into the wrong hands. And laws that require people to obtain a permit to carry guns, whether openly or concealed, help prevent violence in our public spaces. The John Hopkins 2023 National Survey of Gun Policy found that a majority of Americans across party lines (72% overall; 87.3% of Democrats; 61.2% of Republicans; 76.2% of gun-owners) would support requiring a person to obtain a license from law enforcement before purchasing a firearm. The same holds true for concealed carry permitting. A different study from the Pew Research Center again found that a majority of voters in both parties (60% Republicans, 91% of Republicans) oppose allowing people to carry concealed firearms without a permit. A different 2022 national survey found that 72% of adults in states with permitless concealed carry laws are against them. 

Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and the Kansas City community. Once again, another city is forever changed—but it doesn’t have to be this way. Missouri has the opportunity and responsibility to act now to prevent additional tragedies by reinstating these essential gun violence prevention measures.




The data is clear: states with stronger gun laws have less gun violence. See how your state compares in our annual ranking.

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We’re building a movement of Americans committed to gun safety. Democrats and Republicans, gun owners and non–gun owners alike—we stand united to reject the gun lobby and pass lifesaving gun safety laws.