SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After gun laws were relaxed in recent years, reports of gun violence are on the rise in Springfield, leading to situations such as the drive-by shooting Tuesday night.

Travis Eastburn was in an apartment building between South Robberson Avenue and Grant Street when he heard what he initially thought were fireworks, but turned out to be gunshots. Eastburn called 911 after he realized what was going on.

“When I saw that there was a hole in the window right by my apartment, I got pretty angry,” Eastburn told Ozarks First Wednesday. He said around 10 police vehicles arrived to cordon off the area and investigate. Eastburn said that people were shooting down the street from their vehicle. Several cars were damaged by the gunshots.

This incident was one of many shots fired calls that the Springfield Police Department has received so far in 2022. In the first five months of 2022, 159 shots fired incidents were reported to the city police.

“So, a little more than one a day,” said Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams. “If that trend continues, we’ll be up over 400 for the year, which would be a record.”

No part of Springfield is not affected by these incidents, Williams said.

“It’s kind of all over,” Williams said. “I mean, there are pockets — certainly more significant spots around town, but there is not an area of the community that hadn’t been affected by shots fired calls.”

Williams said that guns have become more prevalent over the last five years and that removal of a permit to carry a firearm is part of the reason.

“Responsible gun owners — they’re great,” Williams tsaid Wednesday. “The vast majority of folks are. They use them appropriately and secure them when not in use. What we’re seeing is a lot of irresponsible gun ownership.”

Williams said that one problem is that people will purchase guns legally and then stop securing them over time. This leads to more guns being stolen from places such as purses, glove compartments, and other places.

“If you’re not going to be using it, lock it up,” Williams said. “Make sure that gun is controlled. Don’t just leave it somewhere.”

Over 100 guns, from handguns to assault-style rifles, have been seized in 2022 alone. This puts the Springfield police on track to pick up more guns in 2022 than they did in 2021.