Guns & America | KERA News

Guns & America

KERA is a part of a new national reporting collaborative that has 10 public media newsrooms training attention on the role of guns in American life.

KERA’s Hady Mawajdeh and nine other Audion Reporting Fellows across the country are exploring the impact guns have on Americans, from the cultural significance of hunting and sport shooting, to the role guns play in suicide, homicide, mass shootings and beyond. 

To learn more about the fellows and follow their reporting, visit gunsandamerica.org. For all gun-related stories, in and outside of the Guns & America project, click here.

Ways to Connect

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The Department of Justice has been in a years-long fight to decrease violent gun crimes. And now, it’s targeting domestic violence abusers.

Spending on gun policy advertisements has risen sharply in recent elections, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have concluded, amid widening political divisions within the gun debate.

Over four election cycles from 2012-2018, the study, “Guns In Political Advertising Over Four US Election Cycles,” found that ads referencing guns increased from 1% of total candidate-related advertisements, to over 8% in the 2018 cycle.

sign for Pitkin County Colorado sheriff's office
Alycin Bektesh / KUNC

On January 1, 2020, Colorado joined 16 other states and the District of Columbia in having a “red flag” law, a provision that allows police to temporarily seize guns from someone deemed to be an immediate threat to themselves or others. 

Firearm Deaths Hold Steady After Record-Setting 2017

Jan 29, 2020
CDC
James Gathany / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A near-record number of Americans died by gunshot in 2018 according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In most American cities, gun homicides are on the decline. But Durham, North Carolina, saw its homicide rate rise in 2019. While the community copes with feelings of chronic violence, one outreach worker is dedicating his time to ending the cycle.

On a Friday morning in December, Jenny Lingle’s house in Boise, Idaho, is buzzing with the sounds of young children. Her daughters, Ruby, 4, and Lucy, 7, and their friend, Hannah, sit at the kitchen table, chatting between bites of breakfast.

Most days, Lingle works as a nurse at a local hospital. But on days like today, she’s half of an elementary school carpool, getting her daughters and their friend ready for school.

A Packed, Peaceful Protest: Activists Descend On Virginia’s Capitol For Pro-Gun Rally

Jan 20, 2020

In the shadow of looming concern from state officials, the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL)’s annual lobbying day event and rally Monday went as organizers planned with 22,000 in attendance, only one arrest and no notable issues (with the possible exception of the frigid temperature.)

Gunshot survivors experience chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and other physical and mental health challenges at rates higher than survivors of other traumatic injuries, according to a new study by researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday declared a state of emergency and instituted a temporary ban on firearms from being carried on Capitol grounds, as the state prepares to deal with an influx of gun rights supporters attending a protest rally in Richmond next week.

A Lawsuit By Sandy Hook Families Is Poised To Provide A Rare Window Into The Gun Industry

Jan 15, 2020
Josh Koskoff and plantiffs at a press conference
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

A lawsuit by families of victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has the potential to significantly change what the world knows about how the gun industry thinks and operates. 

'Slide By' promo photo
Jake Nice

Dallas-based artist and musician Jake Nice is tackling his largest project to date as a director — a play called "Slide By" about guns, toxic masculinity and the 1999 school shooting in Columbine, Colorado.

Attorney General William Barr
Matthew Richmond / ideastream

Back in the early 1990s, there was Operation Triggerlock. A few years later, in Richmond, Virginia, they called the policy Project Exile. Now it’s called Project Safe Neighborhoods.

Josh’s girlfriend broke up with him in the fall of 2017, and it hit him hard. He became depressed, started drinking and became more withdrawn. He got into a few mountain biking accidents, which his mom, Diane, thought were intentional. She thought he was trying to hurt himself.

“And then it just seemed like all of a sudden he spiraled down bad,” Diane said.

Police officers David Riggall, left, and Nick Guadarrama, center, demonstrate how to clear a hallway intersection during a security training session at Fellowship of the Parks campus in Haslet.
Associated Press

Traditionally, sanctuary has meant "safety." But decades of mass shootings in places of worship have shaken that faith.

Twenty years ago, it was Fort Worth's Wedgwood Baptist — seven churchgoers dead. Then came 2015 and Charleston, S.C. — nine dead. Two years ago, Sutherland Springs — 26 dead. Last year, Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh — 11 dead. And just this weekend, in White Settlement outside Fort Worth — two church members dead. All of this has led sanctuaries to harden their defenses in hopes of saving lives.

Without Conclusive Data, One City Grapples With Gun-Free Zones

Dec 25, 2019
Aspen City Hall
Alycin Bektesh / For KUNC

The city council of Aspen, Colorado, voted unanimously in late October to ban the public from openly carrying guns in government buildings.

A few weeks back, I found myself being pelted with snow, on an unnamed ridge, high above the aptly named Roaring River in central Idaho.

My eyes peeled for elk, I was trudging behind a friend with a rifle in one hand, trying not to trip on the trail-less mountainside.

How did I get here?

After a much-anticipated showdown over gun regulations at the U.S. Supreme Court in early December focused on procedure over substance, advocates on all sides are waiting to see if the court dismisses the case.

Jerico Lowery, an SRO for Pinecrest High School in Moore County, North Carolina, steps onto VirTra's stage at the Samarcand Training Facility. He's using a laser gun to shoot at the virtual gunman.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

Nearly half — 49% — of public schools in the United States have at least one School Resource Officer on campus.

The Holiday Season Is Big Business For The Gun Industry

Nov 29, 2019
An assortment of rifles
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The holiday shopping season is big business for most retailers in the United States, and the gun industry is no exception. The last three months of the year represent almost a third of annual sales for firearms retailers each year.

The Ruger Mini-14 (top) is identical in function to the AR-15 (bottom) but isn’t as popular as the AR-15 and is largely ignored by gun control advocates and policymakers.
Jonathan Levinson / OPB

The AR-15 has taken center stage in the American gun debate. But at its heart, the AR-15 is a rifle that has been modified to look and feel a certain way.

A closely watched lawsuit that could provide a roadmap for suing gun companies in the wake of mass shootings can move forward in a Connecticut court, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.

The Secret Service and National Threat Assessment Center have released a report focused on targeted school violence, including school shootings.

They studied 41 attacks against K-12 schools in the United States from 2008 to 2017. The report focused on the background and behaviors of attackers to identify commonalities among them.

Democrats in Virginia claimed big wins in the Tuesday election, fueled in no small part by big investments from gun control advocates.

The historic blue wave marked the first time Democrats seized control of the state’s government in a generation.

How One Cleveland Teen Negotiates Everyday Gun Violence

Nov 6, 2019
James Banks has spent his whole life in Cleveland’s St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.
Matt Richmond / ideastream

Originally published Feb. 21, 2018.

One day not long ago, James Banks, 18, was sitting in his house in the St. Clair–Superior neighborhood in Cleveland. He picked up a tape recorder and turned it on.

"If you can really listen out the window, to two streets down, it just sounded like a full-on war out there," Banks said.

At D.C. Second Amendment Rally, Gun Community Lobbies For Unity

Nov 2, 2019

More than a thousand gun rights activists gathered at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday for what organizers call the first rally of its kind.

Depending upon whom you ask, there have been somewhere between eight and 350 mass shootings in America so far in 2019. That’s a pretty big range. So why don’t we know the exact number?

After a mass shooting, people and resources pour into the community to help victims and survivors cope. As these incidents continue to unfold, the grim infrastructure that springs up around them is growing larger and more sophisticated.

Mass shootings may grab the headlines, but suicides are by far the leading category of gun death in America. However, most Americans don’t know this, according to a new national poll from APM Research Lab, Call To Mind and Guns & America.

Experts say this misperception is handcuffing suicide prevention efforts.

The poll asked more than 1,000 Americans what they think the leading cause of gun deaths is.

Democratic presidential candidates have been vocal about their support for gun control, but it’s been difficult to stand out in a crowded field that largely agrees on gun issues.

A recent survey from APM Research Lab, Call To Mind and Guns & America found that most Americans — including those who own guns and those who don’t — support laws requiring gun owners to store their firearms with a lock in place.

But not everyone sees storage the same way.

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