The year 2020 brought its share of troubles to many in the nation, including an increase in violent crimes in some areas. At 689 shooting fatalities, 2020 saw more gun violence fatalities in Missouri than ever before. Two cities saw a significant number of fatal shootings last year. St. Louis saw 266 gun homicides and Kansas City saw 161 gun homicides. Springfield, Missouri, saw its fatal shootings increase twofold in 2020 at 23 fatal shootings. In 2020, 61% of Kansas City’s homicide victims were Black men and 78% of homicide victims in St. Louis were Black men.

Why the increase in gun violence?

One reason behind the increase in shootings, according to some, is the current global health crisis, the rollback of gun restrictions and an ongoing lack of trust between officers and those in at-risk communities. Summer saw a significant uptick in gun violence, along with historic protests against inequalities in the nation’s criminal justice system and police brutality.

State law on homicide

First-degree murder is the most serious homicide crime in Missouri. According to Missouri law, an individual commits first-degree murder if they knowingly and with purpose deliberation causes the death of another individual. First-degree murder is a class A felony and can lead to a life sentence in prison or the death penalty.

What can be done to address gun violence?

According to some, there are a variety of ways the state can address gun violence. For example, funding anti-violence campaigns and providing social services to help people meet their basic needs may decrease gun violence in Missouri, as may an investment in public health initiatives that address inequalities and violence prevention work. According to some, measures that aim for recidivism may be more appropriate than measures that simply penalize those who commit violent crimes.

Those in Missouri who have been accused of homicide will want to seek the assistance they need to develop a strong defense strategy. Our firm’s website on homicide may be of interest to those accused of this serious crime.