Guns & America

Guns & America is a groundbreaking national reporting collaborative in which 10 public media newsrooms train their attention on a singular issue: the role of guns in American life.

Over the course of two years, the 10 stations, representing a diverse range of communities all over the country, will report on how guns impact us as Americans, from the cultural significance of hunting and sport shooting, to the role guns play in suicide, homicide, mass shootings and beyond.

Operating across broadcast and online platforms, the Guns & America team will approach the topic of guns with nuance, accuracy, imagination, and innovative cross-platform storytelling. Expect to see our reporting online and to hear memorable stories on a public radio station near you.

The 10 public media stations participating in Guns & America:

  • WAMU - Washington, D.C.
  • WNPR - Hartford, Connecticut
  • WUNC - Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • WABE - Atlanta
  • ideastream - Cleveland
  • KCUR - Kansas City, Missouri
  • KERA - Dallas
  • KUNC - Greeley, Colorado
  • Boise State Public Radio - Boise, Idaho
  • OPB - Portland, Oregon

The reporter for Guns & America at KUNC is Leigh Paterson.

Melissa Potter was standing in her kitchen when the call came in. It was her estranged nephew, Brandon Wagshol, and she was surprised — he’d never called her before.

“When I saw his name on the caller ID, I got worried that maybe something horrible had happened,” Potter said. “Or, you know, maybe something was going on with the family that he needed to tell me about. So I picked up the phone.”

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.

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.

The emphasis on its appearance, however, has shaped how the country regulates firearms, to the frustration of many gun owners and gun control advocates alike.

The AR-15 is a semiautomatic rifle that usually shoots 5.56mm rounds. It has a detachable magazine so users can put in 5-, 10-, 30-, or even 60- and 100-round magazines.

Democratic presidential hopefuls called for increased firearms restrictions at a forum organized by gun control advocates in Las Vegas Wednesday.

The group largely agreed on measures like reinstating the so-called assault weapons ban and universal background checks, though some called for gun buybacks.Others cautioned against going too far and endangering more politically feasible changes.

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.

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.

Trust Your Gut: What Selling Guns Online Is Like

Sep 30, 2019

In a parking lot in Fayetteville, Georgia, John Pander is about to head into a competitive shooting match. And he’s brought along a pistol he doesn’t shoot anymore. It’s a SIG SAUER P229.

Pander usually buys his guns new, from federally licensed dealers. He keeps them locked up in a safe at home, but sometimes the safe fills up.

“So it all comes down to space,” said Pander. “And yeah, sometimes you want to fund the next purchase.”

So when he’s got his eye on a new gun, he puts an old one up for sale.

Timira Hopkins knew her boyfriend was angry that she had stayed late at her grandmother’s house one day in March 2014, instead of being at home waiting when he got off work.

She had seen him upset before — often, even. His rage would routinely erupt into acts of violence, leaving her with black and blue bruises across her face. He sometimes threatened worse.

WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of domestic violence that some readers might find disturbing.

A Republican senator from Georgia has introduced a bill to study what he calls “mass violence.” It would give a $300 million infusion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Sen. Johnny Isakson’s plan is to spend $75 million annually, for four years, to study the causes of what he calls “mass violence” and how to prevent it.

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