Missouri's black homicide rate is nearly twice the national average, according to a study released Wednesday from the Violence Policy Center.
There were 247 black homicide victims in Missouri in 2012, or about 35 deaths per 100,000 people.
"If you compare it to the overall rate of 4.5 per 100,000, basically all races across the country, it's seven times the number," says Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann.
Sugarmann's organization began compiling the stats a decade to draw attention to the disproportionate victimization of blacks. Missouri has consistently been in the top 10 states for highest black murder rate.
"One thing that we can say from our experience in working on gun violence prevention is the fact that Missouri has one of the most lax set of firearms laws in the country and has very few standards beyond what the federal law requires," says Sugarmann.
A gun was the weapon used in 87 percent of black homicide deaths in 2012.
Kansas' 2012 black homicide rate was about 16 victims per 100,000 people, less than the national average of 18.