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.

Shooting your gun into the air on New Year’s Eve – or any celebratory gunfire, for that matter – can have deadly consequences. That might seem obvious, but along with party poppers, fireworks and champagne, it remains a staple at some celebrations.

On an unseasonably warm November day, hunter Cole Cushman loaded his pickup truck with camouflage gear, bright orange hats and a Browning 7 mm rifle for a hunt deep in the Virginia woods.

The autumn and winter months mark deer season for much of the United States, and for Cushman and other hunters across the country, a chance to feed their neighbors through various local hunger-relief programs.

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.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced a new federal regulation that reclassifies bump stocks as machine guns, making bump stocks illegal in most cases under the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act.

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.

Scott and JJ Shepherd live in a white house at the end of a dirt road in Walden, Colorado, a small town near the Wyoming border.

The picture window above the sink in their kitchen frames a view: black cattle and a barn in the foreground, mountains in the distance, dark and dusted with snow.

Leigh Paterson, KUNC

Scott and JJ Shepherd’s herd in Walden, Colorado.

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 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.

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.

Last year, more than 771 million people passed through airport security nationwide. Among the liquids and wrapped presents Transportation Security Administration agents unearth in passengers’ carry-ons, they’re finding more and more firearms.

From 2015 to 2017, the TSA found at least 9,866 firearms in carry-on baggage at airports nationwide.

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