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.

Evan Todd
Leigh Paterson / KUNC

Evan Todd still has sharp memories of April 20, 1999. As a sophomore at Columbine High School, he was in the library with his friends on that cool, sunny morning, attempting to write a paper but really just goofing off, throwing around wads of paper.

In an instant everything changed. Todd described an explosion, smoke, and then pops of gunfire echoing through the hallways. He felt a rush of adrenaline as panic set in around him.

Public health researchers across the U.S. are eager to find possible solutions to gun violence. Gun ownership data helps researchers study how guns are used in various crimes and could reveal opportunities for preventing firearm-related deaths. But there is no federal registration requirement for guns. And without concrete numbers of gun ownership, how can researchers pin down the problem?

The answer: They use alternative measurements to get a handle on the data.

Multiple states missed a March 25 deadline to submit plans for bulking up the information states report to the FBI’s background check system for gun purchases.

This comes a year after President Donald Trump signed legislation requiring states and federal agencies to add more records to the database gun dealers use when running a background check during a gun purchase.

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.

In 5 states — Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and South Dakota — teachers or other school staff are explicitly authorized by state law to carry firearms in schools, according to a report by the Education Commission of the States.

States across the country are passing gun control legislation in response to mass shootings, as groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America gain political clout. In deep red states, though, activists must both temper their expectations and reckon with residents and lawmakers often hostile to any limitations on their right to bear arms.

Young Voices Across The Country Lead The Conversation After March For Our Lives

Mar 20, 2019
Tay Anderson
Leigh Paterson / KUNC

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.

One year ago, weeks of conversations, walkouts and student action culminated in March For Our Lives events in Washington, D.C., and across the country.

Taking A Life In Self-Defense

Mar 14, 2019

 

Credit: Jonathan Levinson, OPB

Pvt. Jeffrey Friberg with the Oregon National Guard’s 741st Brigade Engineer Battalion clears a building on March 2, 2019 at Camp Rilea, Oregon.

Jonathan Levinson / OPB

After months of silence, the Connecticut Supreme Court reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting against Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the rifle used in the shooting.

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.

Several children at the Langston Lane Apartments in Southeast Washington, D.C., saw the body of 15-year-old Gerald Watson after he was chased down by two assailants, shot and killed in December.

The shooting happened just a short walk away from the TraRon Center after-school program, a community anti-gun violence resource and refuge to some two dozen children, which is housed in the same apartment complex where Watson lived and was killed.

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