Guns & America | KUNC

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.

As Americans flock to gun stores in the face of coronavirus fears, many gun dealers report an influx of new customers, taking home a deadly weapon for the first time. In response, long-time gun owners from across the country are stepping up to help these newcomers get some safety training in the age of social distancing.

Quantifying the number of first-time buyers is impossible, but anecdotally, gun store owners say there are many.

Americans bought millions of guns in March, apparently driven by fears of the societal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retailers sold more than 2.5 million firearms in March, a year-over-year increase of 85%, according to estimates from industry research firm Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF).

The FBI says it performed 3,740,688 background checks in its NICS database during the month of March, over 1 million more background checks than it performed in March 2019.

Ammon Bundy is holding court in a chilly warehouse by the railroad tracks in rural Emmett, Idaho. Yes, that Ammon Bundy.

Employees of gun stores and gun manufacturers should be seen as “essential” workers, according to a memo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published on Saturday.

As fear fuels an apparent surge in gun-buying, firearm background checks are taking so long in Colorado that in some instances gun dealers can legally make a sale without an approved background check.

This is a developing story

Governors of several states have closed gun shops and dealers as part of their orders shuttering “non-essential” businesses to the public in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, drawing the ire and legal firepower of gun rights groups. Adding to the confusion, businesses selling firearms are exempted from these orders in states like Connecticut, Ohio and Illinois.

Vincent Hancock, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time Olympian in skeet shooting, was looking forward to competing in Tokyo for another medal this year. But with the coronavirus outbreak, Hancock’s Olympic aspirations are put on hold.

“My world has just been turned upside down, but at the same time, I’ve been kind of expecting that over the last few days,” he said. “We’re going to get through it.”

As health officials struggle to suppress the spread of COVID-19, many entangled in the U.S. court system, including domestic violence accusers and those with pending court hearings, are left with the difficult question of what comes next.

Several agencies have opted to incorporate teleconferencing and other remote workarounds to better support those in need, but for many victims of domestic violence, time in isolation can compound the dangers of living with an abuser.

Leer en español.

As people across the country stock up on supplies to prepare for weeks of social distancing, Americans are crowding into gun stores, with firearms on their shopping list next to toilet paper and canned goods.

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