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.

In the aftermath of a mass shooting, a recurring question arises: How did the shooter get the gun?  

In most cases, the perpetrator legally bought the firearms in question.

Of the 105 mass shootings committed in the U.S. since 1982, 78 (or 74 percent) involved firearms obtained by legal means, as shown in this analysis of the mass shooting database created by news organization Mother Jones.

A new kind of gun law is on the ballot in 10 Oregon counties this year. So-called “Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances” would give those county sheriffs the authority to determine if state and federal gun laws are constitutional and bar county resources from being used to enforce them.

The measures represent a new legal strategy for gun rights groups.

Colorado Wildlife Council

You might have seen the Hug-a-Hunter or Hug-an-Angler ads on TV or social media over the past year. Through both messaging and humor, the campaign aims to highlight that hunters and anglers contribute to conservation. One ad starts by explaining that when someone buys a hunting license, some of that money goes to conservation, like restoring forests and protecting wildlife.

About two weeks out from Election Day, a dozen United Auto Workers and United Steelworkers came out to the small eastern city of Warren, Ohio. They were there to support the Democratic ticket for governor, Richard Cordray and his running mate Betty Sutton.

Leigh Paterson / KUNC

Thousands of people turned out for an interfaith vigil to remember the 11 people killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

There was a strong police presence at the Temple Emanuel in Denver. Inside, it was packed with faith leaders, politicians and law enforcement.

After a gunman opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, killing at least 11 and wounding others in what federal prosecutors are calling a hate crime, faith leaders around the country are re-examining security tactics while trying to ensure their religious institutions remain accessible community centers.

When Congress passed the 1968 Gun Control Act, it was one of the first attempts by the federal government to address who was too dangerous to buy a firearm. In the 50 years since, our understanding of mental illness has become more nuanced, while federal regulations largely have not.

About a hundred students at the Emory School of Medicine gathered during lunch earlier this fall, scarfing down their meal before a panel discussion. They came, on their own time, to learn how to talk to their future patients about gun safety. They only had an hour.

There’s a lot of talk about guns in political campaigns this year, much of it focused on regulations aimed at preventing mass shootings. But in states like Idaho, where well over half the population has guns, politicians on all sides are angling to be the most firearms-friendly candidate.

Few police departments are better at confiscating illegal guns than Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department. Every day, teams of officers, often driving unmarked cars, scour the streets looking for people who might be carrying a firearm.

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