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A new Johns Hopkins study has concluded that Missouri's repeal of a law requiring background checks for anyone seeking to buy a handgun from any source led to a 16 percent increase in the state's gun-murder rate. The state previously had imposed a permit-to-purchase law that requires handgun buyers to obtain a license affirming that they had undergone a background check.

While the federal government requires anyone buying a gun from a federally licensed dealer to submit to a background check under the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, only 14 states require background checks of people who buy guns from unlicensed dealers. Ten require a permit-to-purchase license.

The study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Journal of Urban Health, finds that the law's repeal was associated with an additional 55 to 63 murders per year in Missouri between 2008 and 2012. [...]

The increase in murders with firearms in Missouri began in the first full year after the PTP handgun law was repealed when data from crime gun traces revealed simultaneous large increases in the number of guns diverted to criminals and in guns purchased in Missouri that were subsequently recovered by police in border states that retained their PTP laws.

During the same period, the national murder rate declined five percent and none of the states around Missouri experienced significant increases in the murder rate.

More on the Johns Hopkins study below the fold.

This ought to be convincing evidence for most people that mandated background checks work. In fact, poll after poll has shown the vast majority of Americans in every state, including large percentages of gun owners, already are convinced and support universal background checks. But this hasn't stopped the National Rifle Association, its sister organizations or members of Congress from stubbornly fighting this most sensible gun legislation. Last April, a UBC law was among the proposed restrictions shot down by the Senate.

Sure, the study isn't definitive:

Since this is only a single study, "it's just suggestive," warned David Hemenway of Harvard's School of Public Health. It is "another piece of evidence that is consistent with the bulk of the literature, which shows where there are fewer guns, there are fewer problems ... But you want eight more studies that say background checks really matter."
The more studies the better. But eight studies or 80 studies or 800 studies aren't going to persuade the NRA and its imitators to stop their stubborn resistance to even the most sensible new gun restrictions, of which universal background checks is at the top of the list. Because, despite all its blather, the NRA's objective for more than 25 years has been to get rid of as many existing gun restrictions as possible. Running background checks to detect violent criminals and mentally dangerous people and keep them from buying guns is anathema to these fanatics and an increased murder rate is the price they demand we pay for freedumb.

•••

Rachel191 has a post on this subject here.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 12:33 PM PST.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), Firearms Law and Policy, Shut Down the NRA, and Daily Kos.

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