Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 293–302 | Cite as

Effects of the Repeal of Missouri’s Handgun Purchaser Licensing Law on Homicides

  • Daniel WebsterEmail author
  • Cassandra Kercher Crifasi
  • Jon S. Vernick


In the USA, homicide is a leading cause of death for young males and a major cause of racial disparities in life expectancy for men. There are intense debate and little rigorous research on the effects of firearm sales regulation on homicides. This study estimates the impact of Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law on states’ homicide rates and controls for changes in poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, policing levels, and other policies that could potentially affect homicides. Using death certificate data available through 2010, the repeal of Missouri’s PTP law was associated with an increase in annual firearm homicides rates of 1.09 per 100,000 (+23 %) but was unrelated to changes in non-firearm homicide rates. Using Uniform Crime Reporting data from police through 2012, the law’s repeal was associated with increased annual murders rates of 0.93 per 100,000 (+16 %). These estimated effects translate to increases of between 55 and 63 homicides per year in Missouri.


firearm policy firearm violence gun policy gun violence 



This research was funded by a grant from The Joyce Foundation to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Impact of Permit-to-Purchase Handgun Licensing Laws on Violent Crime, 12-34373.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Webster
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cassandra Kercher Crifasi
    • 1
  • Jon S. Vernick
    • 1
  1. 1.Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and ResearchJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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