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 wake of the shooting at the K-12 STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, parents all over the country are struggling with difficult conversations about safety at school. One student was killed and eight were injured. Hundreds more lived through the terrifying experience of a shooting at their school.

The reality is that school shootings are traumatic events. And they can have long-lasting consequences.

As school security has become a top priority in communities across the country, security companies have found a thriving new market for their products. But in a sea of gadgets and technology, how do school districts effectively sift through and find the products that can truly help prevent a school shooting?

The ‘Big Aha Moment’

The Chatham County School District has about 8,700 students within its system and is situated in the center of northern North Carolina, a mix of rural and suburban communities.

On Tuesday, April 30, a gunman killed two students and injured four others at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

After a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad few days, the National Rifle Association on Monday emerged with one long-time anchor intact: Wayne LaPierre.

LaPierre, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the organization since 1991, will retain his role after a vote by the NRA’s 76-member board of directors during a closed-door meeting in Indianapolis.

Standing in his office adjacent to the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct, Roy Moore is explaining how gentrification has escalated some instances of gang violence in the neighborhood.

“We kinda had territories and codes, so I’m not going to go over there unless it’s time to do something,” explained Moore. “Now, it might happen anywhere. Twelve in the morning, nine in the morning going to get my blunt paper, I need my pistol with me now because I don’t know who I’m going to run into.”

Amid an internal struggle over the direction of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the group’s president Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret.) announced at the NRA’s annual convention that he would not seek another term.

In a letter read to members of the group Saturday, North advocated for a review of NRA finances and said he had been pushed out.

Gregory Terrell is a volunteer violence interrupter in Cleveland, Ohio. He runs a non-profit called Society for Nonviolent Change and works mostly in the Central neighborhood on Cleveland’s East Side. Everyone who knows him calls him Tonto.

Cities across the U.S. are trying to reduce gun violence, with many turning to “violence interrupters” like Tonto. They are community members who set out to mediate conflicts before violence escalates.

A Florida teen arrived at Denver International Airport last week and then purchased a shotgun at a gun store in the suburb of Littleton. What followed was a massive, frantic manhunt and the closure of schools all over northern Colorado. Questions about the legality of that gun purchase persist.

Two years after an explosion at a crucial Army factory that is the country’s largest producer of small-caliber ammunition, the true cause of Lawrence Bass Jr.’s death remains unclear.

Bass, a long-time employee, followed explosives-handling procedures later deemed to be poorly written. He worked for a defense contractor anxious to slash costs on a government contract it had underbid.

Students
Leigh Paterson / KUNC

On Saturday, the day before Easter, people gathered in Clement Park next to Columbine High School, with hundreds in blue folding chairs and hundreds more sitting on the green lawn surrounding a stage.

"We are here on the sacred day, on this sacred ground to be a community of healing, redemption, faith and service," Pastor James Hoxworth said.

As the wind blew and the bright, sunny sky turned to gray, speakers remembered April 20, 1999 during an event to commemorate that day.

Pages