'Just irresponsible': Gun violence a big issue in Missouri ahead of midterms

Ahead of the November 8 midterms, FRANCE 24 takes you on a tour down the Mississippi River with a series of reports by Fanny Allard. The third of five episodes brings us to Missouri, which has some of the weakest gun laws and one of the highest gun violence rates in the US.

Missouri has the fifth highest rate of gun deaths in the country and some of the laxest gun laws. The state doesn’t have a minimum age to purchase a firearm and anyone who can legally own a gun can openly carry it without a permit.

Until recently, Missouri’s biggest city, St. Louis, held the grim title of murder capital of the US and still has the second highest murder rate in the country.

Zacheriah Davis’s daughter D’Asia Bowers was one of the nearly 160 victims of gun violence in St. Louis this year.

Davis believes more gun control is urgently needed. “We’re just irresponsible and this epidemic that we have with guns in this country, if we don’t have comprehensive gun reform, if we don’t lobby our representatives and our public officials, if we don’t do something, we’ll constantly have individuals who are hurt and killed and murdered senselessly,” he said.

But others see the matter differently. “I believe a lot of what you hear and see as far as using a firearm in an inappropriate way are not done by lawful owners,” said Les Steinberg, manager of the Gateway Gun Club. “The laws are good for the lawful people, I think the laws are ignored by many others.”

Click on the player above to watch the full report.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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