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.

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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.

What We Know About Targeted School Violence

Nov 8, 2019

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.

Gun manufacturer Colt says it plans to suspend production of AR-15-style rifles for the civilian market. The company plans to limit its production to fulfilling its police and military contracts.

The national debate on gun restrictions has largely focused on semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 and other so-called “assault weapons,” because of their use in high-profile mass shootings.

Colt says the decision is not a political one.

145 CEOs Urge Senate To Act On Gun Violence

Sep 12, 2019

The chief executives of many prominent U.S. companies sent a letter to U.S. senators on Thursday urging them to pass new federal gun control laws.

“Gun violence in America is not inevitable; it’s preventable,” the letter from 145 CEOs reads. “There are steps Congress can, and must, take to prevent and reduce gun violence.”

Following a series of high-profile shootings this summer, many have called on Congress to respond to mounting public pressure and enact new gun regulations after returning from the summer recess.

This week, the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee will take a first step. The Committee is scheduled to mark up several new gun control bills that were introduced earlier this year.

As kids across the country head back to school for the year, the question of how to keep students safe is constant and ever-evolving, especially when it comes to mass shootings. One recent active shooter training at Pinnacle Charter School in northern Colorado focused on three actions: evacuate, barricade, and fight.

Standing on blue gym mats, under bright fluorescent lights, a trainer and a student lean in, heads close.

What Makes A Gun Sale Private?

Sep 5, 2019

With presidential candidates pushing for universal background checks and pro-gun activists raising alarms about personal freedoms, the regulation of private gun sales is a potential bellwether for other gun control measures. But what, exactly, is a private gun sale?   

In short, a private gun sale happens when someone who is not a licensed gun dealer sells a gun. 

Infowars founder Alex Jones has lost another legal battle against families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

Jones must now pay all costs associated with an appeal filed against a parent of a Sandy Hook Elementary School victim, says the Texas Court of Appeals.

In the daylight hours of a recent Wednesday afternoon, a 33-year-old man was shot and killed in Southeast Washington, D.C., just a short walk from where children at Savoy Elementary School were in their afternoon classes. Hendley Elementary School, roughly a mile away, was recently hit by bullets, reportedly for the second time in a month.

Update, 6:20 p.m. ET: This story now includes additional language about the types of ammunition Walmart will no longer sell. 

Walmart announced Tuesday that it will discontinue sales of ammunition designed for handguns and military-style rifles such as the AR-15.

The company will also stop allowing customers to openly carry firearms inside its stores, and called on lawmakers to consider passing new gun control legislation.

At a press conference Sunday in Odessa, Texas, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs said that the nation is now averaging an active shooter incident “every other week,” a broad term used by the FBI to describe someone “attempting to kill people in a populated area.

Not all of these incidents escalate to the level of a mass shooting.

At least seven people were killed and another 20 were injured in a mass shooting that stretched in and around Midland and Odessa, Texas, Saturday. The incident was the second mass shooting in that state in less than a month, following a shooting in El Paso, on Aug. 3.

Police officers often work secondary employment as armed security guards in their police uniforms. It is a widespread practice that raises many unanswered questions about oversight and the use of public resources for private purposes.

On weekend nights in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, questions about oversight come into full view.

Tremont is a few blocks of popular bars and restaurants surrounded by a neighborhood of single family houses. It is affluent by Cleveland standards, with home prices climbing above $400,000.

Stella M Chávez, KERA News

On Aug. 3, 2019, a shooter at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, took the lives of 22, injured over two dozen and changed a whole community. The shooting was the worst targeting Latinx in modern U.S. history.

But as some survivors begin to process the horror, there might be a glimmer of hope: Those without a green card may now be eligible for a special visa, designed to protect crime victims. 

Oregon Sheriffs Offer A Lesson To Their Peers Elsewhere

Aug 21, 2019

Early this past June, Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni was in his Coquille, Oregon, office fielding an email from a sovereign citizen. The sender was claiming that the Oregon state government doesn’t have grounds to operate because it can’t provide him with a copy of the 1859 State Constitution.

Sovereign citizens reject the legitimacy of the state and federal government. All of it: taxation, currency, the courts and, of course, gun laws.

Strong majorities of Americans from across the political spectrum support laws that allow family members or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from a person who is seen to be a risk to themselves or others, according to a new APM Research Lab/Guns & America/Call To Mind survey.

Chris Haxel / KCUR

In the last few weeks, Democratic presidential candidates, Congressional leaders, and even the President, have been proposing various gun control policies to curb gun violence in America. But a recent study from the Journal of Rural Health shows that certain firearm laws are more effective at reducing violence than others, depending on if you live in an urban or rural area.

unsplash

While the circumstances of every mass shooting are unique, the perpetrators of the recent shootings in Ohio and Texas fit into a consistent storyline: white men with access to guns committing violence in the name of real or perceived grievances.

A Space To Heal: Families Create Memorial Garden For Victims Of Gun Violence

Aug 8, 2019
Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Losing a loved one to gun violence is a life-changing event, one that happens in the U.S. nearly 40,000 times a year. Some surviving family and friends go to support groups or grieve behind closed doors. But one group of mothers in New Haven, Connecticut, is working to take their healing to a new location: a botanical garden dedicated to the thousands of victims claimed by gun violence across the country.

Official White House photo by Andrea Hanks / Flickr

President Donald Trump likes getting a reaction from his base, though maybe not the one he’s getting this week. After Trump expressed support for certain gun control measures, some of his staunchest allies in the gun rights community say they may abandon a man they once saw as their best hope for expanding gun rights.

Fact-Checking 6 Myths About The Perpetrators Of Mass Shootings

Aug 6, 2019
Becker1999 / Flickr

Mass shooters killed 31 people last weekend in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, and three people in Gilroy, California, last month, including two children. The week was the deadliest for mass shootings and fatalities this year, whichever way one chooses to count them.

Following the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which killed at least 31 people, lawmakers started to point to one factor that could have contributed to shootings: violent video games.

Here’s the problem: They don’t.

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