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.

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The Trump Administration says it will soon place a federal ban on bump stocks, the gun attachments that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire faster. Ten states banned the plastic device after it was used by a gunman in Las Vegas to shoot and kill 58 people in 2017.

Without any enhancement, semi-automatic rifles fire one bullet per trigger pull. Bump stocks harness the gun’s recoil to speed up the rate of fire, allowing the gun to pump out bullets faster.

It isn’t every day three women in their seventies walk into a gun store.

Stephanie Nugent is the rookie, a first-time shooter who before today had never held more than a water gun.

Mary Knox is proficient: Two years ago she was “petrified,” but overcame arthritic hands and bought her own pistol for self-defense.

Then there’s Karen Corum, who has long had an interest in shooting and says she has “always been fairly good at it.” She got Knox into the shooting sports and the duo now shoots together almost every week.

Gun issues haven’t always been important to Dr. Erik Wallace.

As a young kid growing up in Northern California, Wallace discovered his dad’s handgun in a dresser drawer but was scared of what his dad would do if he touched it. He had a BB gun when he was young but preferred to play baseball, and has never been interested in hunting.

But his relationship with guns completely changed seven years ago when one of his patients threatened to kill him.

How One Cleveland Teen Negotiates Everyday Gun Violence

8 hours ago

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.

The sounds were coming from a shooting right around the corner at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday.

Laws that allow people to use deadly force when threatened — without requiring them to first retreat — have been sweeping across the nation for over a decade. Today, depending on your definition, “stand your ground” is law in well over half of American states.

Gun deaths in the U.S. have been driving down black life expectancy at a significantly higher rate than for white Americans. That’s according to a new study led by Boston University researchers, funded by the National Institute of Justice.

Co-author Bindu Kalesan is an epidemiologist and data scientist at Boston University. She said plenty is already known about the rates of gun deaths for different racial groups in the U.S.

Tyler Tiller and his 10-year-old daughter, Taylor, sit perched on a log overlooking a fog-encased forest below. They’re just off a mountainous dirt road in western Oregon. The sun is setting and with it, their last chance to shoot a doe this season.

Neither seems to care much. Their excursions aren’t really about hunting.

A TSA officer looks at a monitor while checking a bag in the screening lane at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, May 25, 2016, in Atlanta. In 2017, TSA found more guns in carry-ons at the airport than at any other.
Associated Press

More than 771 million people passed through airport security across the country last year. And mixed in among the liquids and wrapped presents, Transportation Security Administration agents are finding something else in passengers’ carry-ons: thousands of loaded guns.

On the third weekend of every month is the Austin Highway Gun Show, where there are rows of tables with vendors with guns laid out for inspection and purchase. Would-be buyers slowly stroll through the venue, gazing at the pistols, rifles, semiautomatics and shotguns.


Tens of thousands of Americans die by suicide each year; it is a leading cause of death among working-age men in the U.S. In Colorado, 56 percent of men who die by suicide used a firearm.

If you want to know how a felon buys a gun, think about how a teenager might buy alcohol.

First, find a willing friend or family member, or maybe even a stranger at a liquor store who wants to make a quick buck. Then give this person some cash, tell them your drink of choice, and wait.

If you’re careful, this transaction — called a “straw purchase” — is impossible to detect. Clerks don’t often hassle a person over 21 who walks alone into a liquor store.

Last year’s Black Friday set the single-day record for gun background checks run — 203,086.

When you buy a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer, they’re required to run a background check.

While there is no tally of guns sold in the U.S., there is a daily count of background check requests from the FBI and it’s generally considered the best way to measure gun sales.

At the signing of the U.S. Gun Control Act on Oct. 22, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson hailed the bill as the first step in disarming “the criminal, and the careless, and the insane.”

Wilfredo Lee / AP

RJ Young was trying to win over his future father-in-law. So, he started shooting guns. 

Young is a black gun owner and NRA-certified pistol instructor. But, that decision was borne out of anger. 

When Congress passed the 1968 Gun Control Act, it was one of the first attempts by the federal government to address who was too dangerous to buy a firearm. In the 50 years since, our understanding of mental illness has become more nuanced, while federal regulations largely have not.

Kaufman County Sheriff's Office via AP, File

When Officer Amber Guyger fatally shot Botham Jean in his apartment, she was off duty, coming home after working a long shift. But was she acting as a Dallas police officer when she pulled the trigger? Lawyers say she might have been, and that could have big legal implications.

Kaufman County Sheriff's Office Jail via AP

Updated, 7:21 a.m. Tuesday

The Dallas Police Department has fired officer Amber Guyger, almost three weeks after she shot and killed her black neighbor in his apartment. 

Tom Fox / The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool

Guns, the Second Amendment, school shootings and this month's shooting death of Botham Jean were all testy topics for Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke during Friday night's U.S. Senate debate at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Just after 9 a.m. EDT on Thursday, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office received a call of an active shooter at a business park in Aberdeen, Maryland.

The alleged shooter was a 26-year-old temporary employee of the Rite Aid distribution center who arrived to work and opened fire, killing three people and injuring several others before turning the gun on herself, according to law enforcement officials.

Brandon Wade / AP

A white Dallas police officer has moved out of the apartment complex where she shot and killed her black neighbor inside his own home.

Jeff Montgomery / Harding University via AP

Update, 7:09 a.m. Tuesday

A white Dallas police officer said she didn't realize she was in the wrong apartment until after she shot her black neighbor and went into the hallway to check the address, according to an affidavit released Monday.

Kaufman County Jail

Update, 9:01 p.m. Saturday

Dallas police have identified Amber Guyger as the white off-duty officer involved in the fatal shooting of a black man. She's been with the city's police department for four years assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division. 

No other details were released with identification of the officer.  

Amy E. Gutierrez / AP

video game tournament scheduled for next month in Carrollton has been canceled after Sunday's deadly shooting at a Madden event in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Introducing: Guns & America

Aug 27, 2018

The crowd grew quiet when Zion Kelly stepped up to the mic. Many of them knew what I didn’t: the high school student’s twin brother, Zaire, had been shot and killed last year on his way back to their home in the Brentwood neighborhood of northeast Washington, D.C.

Zion spoke about the reality he and his classmates face every day: the threat of violence and the pain of loss.