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Unlocked and Loaded? Crime, Suicide And Improper Gun Storage

In 2017, the homicide rate in Charlotte peaked to its highest number in close to two decades. That statistic and trends so far this year prompted an investigation by reporters at The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer.

The probe found that many of the homicides were committed by past suspects whose weapons charges had been previously dismissed. The rate of dismissal in Mecklenburg County was higher than any other urban county in the state — from 2014 through 2018, 68 percent of weapons charges were dismissed by Mecklenburg prosecutors. Host Frank Stasio talks with reporters Gavin Off and Ames Alexander about the factors contributing to these trends and some potential solutions.

Plus, how do guns get on the black market? Between 2010 and 2016, 23,000 stolen firearms were recovered by police — The Trace found that the majority were recovered in connection with crimes. Locked storage prevents gun theft, and most Americans back laws requiring locks, according to a survey from the APM Research Lab, Guns & America and Call to Mind. Despite high levels of support for this legislation, only Massachusetts mandates that all guns be stored with a lock in place. Host Frank Stasio talks with Adhiti Bandalmudi, WUNC’s Guns and America reporter, about the details of the survey and how locked storage can prevent suicide, the leading cause of gun deaths.

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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