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 Anthony Cave 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

An assortment of rifles sits on racks at Delta Arsenal, a gun shop in Wallingford, Connecticut.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Nearly 2 million records were added last year to the FBI database used to prevent criminals from buying a gun, according to a new FBI report on the operations of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.

That’s an 11% increase over 2017.

Child psychologist Robin Gurwitch says first and foremost, caregivers should reach out to their kids and talk about what has happened.
Benjamin Manley / Unsplash

In the wake of the shooting at the K-12 STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, parents all over the country are struggling with difficult conversations about safety at school. One student was killed and eight were injured. Hundreds more lived through the terrifying experience of a shooting at their school.

The school security industry is a growing one and within it, school districts have to decide how to spend their money.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC for Guns & America

As school security has become a top priority in communities across the country, security companies have found a thriving new market for their products. 

Chuck Burton / Associated Press

On Tuesday, April 30, a gunman killed two students and injured four others at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

A Florida teen arrived at Denver International Airport last month and then purchased a shotgun at a gun store in the suburb of Littleton. What followed was a massive, frantic manhunt and the closure of schools all over northern Colorado. Questions about the legality of that gun purchase persist.

Michael Conroy / Associated Press

After a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad few days, the National Rifle Association on Monday emerged with one long-time anchor intact: Wayne LaPierre.

Michael Conroy / Associated Press

Amid an internal struggle over the direction of the National Rifle Association (NRA), retired Lt. Col. Oliver North let the group know at its annual convention that he would not seek another term as president.

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is the military's primary provider of small-caliber ammunition, such as the .50-caliber rounds seen here.
Chris Haxel / Guns & America

Two years after an explosion at a crucial Army factory that is the country's largest producer of small-caliber ammunition, the true cause of Lawrence Bass Jr.'s death remains unclear.

Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / via Getty Images

The nation was shocked on April 20, 1999, when 12 students and one teacher were killed in a mass shooting at Columbine High School outside of Denver, Colorado.

In the 20 years since, through other prominent school shootings from Sandy Hook to Parkland and an ongoing rise in U.S. shooting deaths, Columbine has loomed large in our politics, policy and culture.

In this 2013 photo, handguns are displayed in the sales area of gun range in Sandy Springs, Georgia. The scoflaw states flouting 2017 legislation aimed at fixing the FBI's faulty background check system have not been publicly named yet.
Associated Press

A year after President Donald Trump signed legislation requiring states and federal agencies to add more information to the database that gun dealerships use during firearms purchases, a few states have missed a key deadline.

Matt Richmond / Guns & America

Teachers or other school staff in districts in 31 states can legally carry weapons in schools, according to a review of state laws and local news coverage by Guns & America.

One Year Later: After March For Our Lives

Mar 27, 2019
Students across the country, including University of Texas at Arlington student Nyasha Magocha, center, helped plan the first March for our Lives in 2018.
Guns & America

In the year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, young people have brought gun issues to the forefront of our national consciousness like never before.

Are You Prepared? Taking A Life In Self-Defense

Mar 19, 2019
Jonathan Levinson / Guns & America

Standing in the master bathroom of his Bend, Oregon, home, Brennan Pebbles is describing the night a home intruder shot a rifle through his front window, killed his roommate, and then hunted him through his house.

From Banned To Beloved: The Rise Of The AR-15

Mar 13, 2019
Heath Druzin / Guns & America

Jim Corbet was a building contractor with way more free time than business in 2011, as the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis took hold in his hometown of McCall, Idaho.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

When an attempt to carry out a gun removal in Maryland's Anne Arundel County left a man dead last November, opponents of the state's red flag law were incensed.

Flowers, buttons, and other items adorn a rock which is part of a semi-circle of stones at the makeshift memorial for the Virginia Tech shooting victims on the Drillfield of the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., Wednesday, June 13, 2007.
Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

States "with more permissive gun laws and greater gun ownership" have higher rates of mass shootings, according to a new study published in the medical journal The BMJ. The study also found that states with more restrictive gun laws have fewer mass shootings, after adjusting for population.

Anthony Cave / KERA News

As the pops of gunfire echo around him, Monte Petersen stoops to collect small brass casings that recently flew from his .45 pistol. They jingle like loose change as he picks them off the gun range floor and tosses them into a bucket.

The House of Representatives side of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The House voted on major gun legislation for the first time in decades.
Lisa Dunn / Guns & America

Almost 25 years to the day after the Brady Bill first mandated background checks for some gun sales, House Democrats and a handful of Republicans just voted to require background checks on all gun sales.

Mateo, left, and his older brother Caleb play in their backyard in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Kindergartener Caleb practices lockdown drills at his school, while his little brother Mateo hasn't started yet.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / Guns & America

Lockdown drills have become increasingly common in schools across the United States. 

Students start practicing these drills as early as pre-school, before they can truly understand what threat they are hiding from.

Gabriel Hodge holds up a bump stock, a plastic attachment that turns a semi-automatic rifle into a virtual machine gun. Bump stock owners, like Hodge, are in limbo after the ATF ruled the devices are illegal, a decision that has been challenged in court.
Heath Druzin / Guns & America

A federal ban on bump stocks represents nearly unprecedented firearms regulation, the kind that concerns even some gun rights proponents who don't like the devices.

Laura Isensee / Houston Public Media

Sandy Hook. Parkland. Santa Fe.

If it seems like school shootings are becoming more common, there is some data to support that.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives offices in Washington, D.C.
A.C. Valdez / Guns & America

After the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, government investigators and contractors who process firearms dealer and special weapons licenses are staring at an application backlog that likely runs into the tens of thousands. As the possibility of another shutdown looms, so, too, does the the likelihood of that backlog increasing exponentially.

Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press

At the first hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill since 2011, politicians fell into well-worn party roles, but — as they have for much of the last year — young people brought new energy to the familiar debate.

About 40,000 people attend Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show, which is held twice-annually in Tulsa, Okla.
Chris Haxel/KCUR

As Fred Nelson shuffled through a crowded convention center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a man tapped him on the shoulder to ask about a gun.

A customer shops at Frontier Justice, a gun store in Lee's Summit, MO. The number of documented background checks are high in 2018, but that doesn't necessarily mean gun sales are too.
Chris Haxel / KCUR

Gun sales have been trending down since the 2016 presidential election when the sales hit a record high. News outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, NPR and Bloomberg, have called this decline in gun sales the "Trump slump." 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

With all the talk about property tax and school finance reform in the Texas Legislature so far, one has to wonder — what about guns?

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case on regulations that ban New York City residents from transporting handguns outside the city.
Chris Haxel, KCUR

For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving constitutional gun rights.

While the ruling will directly affect only a small group of people ‒ New York City residents who are licensed to own a handgun and want to be able to take that gun outside city limits ‒ the court's decision to accept the case could signal a new willingness to wade into questions surrounding the Second Amendment.

Judy Amabile believes that if Colorado enacts an Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, it could help prevent her son from buying a gun.
Leigh Paterson, KUNC

Judy Amabile has a crumpled sleeping bag laid out on the porch of her bright, beautiful home in downtown Boulder, Colorado.

"My son isn't supposed to come in the house when he's been drinking. That's why we have this sleeping bag out here," she explained. "Anybody else would look at that and think uh, what? But for us it's like…That’s life."

Sgt. Brandon White of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office puts a cable lock on a training Glock on January 14, 2019, in Portland, Oregon. The Sheriff's office gives out gun locks for free to anyone who wants one.
Jonathan Levinson, OPB

In his Portland, Oregon, home, Austin Meyers stands in front of his gun safe and explains how he stores his ammo, his pistols and his rifle.

He puts a cable lock on his matte Glock handgun, about to demonstrate how fast he could unlock it and load a magazine if he had to in an emergency.

Illustration by Matthew Warlick / For Guns & America

Stephanie Bond was married to her husband for almost 22 years before he called her into the master bedroom one afternoon in February 2010.

"He pulled out a .45-caliber gun and shot me three times in our walk-in closet with three of the four children at the home," Bond said.

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