Missouri's rate of homicides with a firearm in 2010 was 56 percent above the national average and fourth highest in the nation.
The 7,252 people killed by gun violence in the state from 2001 to 2010 exceeded U.S. combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2009, nearly 600 guns sold in Missouri were used in crimes in other states.
Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank, used this data and more to rank Missouri eighth among the 50 states when calculating levels of gun violence.
That distinction should get leaders moving on serious gun safety legislation.
But Missouri's GOP-controlled legislature is much too busy. When not scheming about how to defy federal gun laws, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and legislators are trumping up a baseless allegation that the state Department of Revenue is compiling a secret gun database to share with the dreaded federal government.
This all started when a citizen in Stoddard County visited a fee office to add a conceal-carry permit endorsement to his driver's license. A worker scanned his documents to comply with new security features.
Presto, paranoia! The citizen filed a lawsuit, Kinder held a news conference and lawmakers breathlessly demanded answers. Revenue officials said the department is not sending information to the federal government. Gov. Jay Nixon reiterated that on Wednesday.
But, ever on the lookout for a chink in Nixon's political armor, a well-endowed Republican operative group, United for Missouri, has now purchased $400,000 worth of deceitful radio and TV ads clumsily attempting to tie Nixon to the "scandal."
Meanwhile, reports Center for American Progress, someone in the state dies from gun violence every 26 hours.
Missouri's Republican lawmakers have warped priorities. Citizens should demand they get straightened out.
Copyright The Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission.