Attendees stand during the Oct. 22 silent vigil, for mothers of people who've been killed by police, at the Dallas Police Department.
Keren Carrion / KERA

According to the national database Fatal Encounters, an average of 1,500 people have been killed annual during interactions with police since 2000. And about 70% of those killings happen with guns.

Protestors at the March For Our Lives on March 24, 2018. Gun violence researchers say the lack of data makes it hard to understand the impact gun violence has on local economies, and how to go about the best solutions.
Victoria Chamberlin / WAMU

On Oct. 21, the District of Columbia hit a grim milestone for the year — 10 assaults with a firearm in one day. Data from the Metropolitan Police Department also showed 140 gun deaths since January, outpacing last year’s numbers with two more months to go on the calendar.

Drifters Western Bar And Grill is a no-nonsense diner in a red wooden building just past the sign that welcomes you to Emida, Idaho. Elk and deer mounts adorn the wall, and maple leaf flags remind you that you’re just three hours south of the Canadian border.

This is where Hank Thornton started his rounds on a recent warm September day. He’s partial to Drifters’ omelettes, but that’s not what brought him here.

“They’ve got a great breakfast here,” he said. “But no, it’s not just to get breakfast.”

Grieving Murdered Children During A Pandemic

Oct 19, 2020

Marion Bailey lost her grandson Javaun D. Graves five years ago. He was murdered in Durham, North Carolina.

“I felt like I had a hole in my stomach,” Bailey said. “And that I didn’t think it would ever be sealed again. I just felt like part of me was missing, it was gone.”

She says her faith was the only thing that pulled her through after Graves was shot while standing next to a vehicle and talking to his girlfriend.

A new study shows rural congressional districts have far higher suicide rates than urban ones and that firearms are a major factor.

The study from gun control advocacy group Everytown For Gun Safety underscores a rural-urban divide exacerbated by uneven access to mental health care and the relationship between access to firearms and suicide rates.

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has set the stage for a historic shift in the court’s makeup and could significantly change how the court views any given gun law in relation to the Second Amendment.

A screenshot from an ad by Everytown for Gun Safety.
Everytown for Gun Safety / YouTube

Gun regulation advocates hope to flip the U.S. Senate this November. But they want to influence local elections in North Carolina, too.

To win, they're targeting suburban women with a new campaign.

How Many People In The U.S. Own Guns?

Sep 17, 2020

This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here.

When someone fires a gun in Youngstown, Victoria Allen usually hears it — at least on her phone. Allen, who runs the ICU Neighborhood Watch group on Youngstown’s south side, has access to the city’s Shot Spotter app, which records the sound, time and location of gunshots.

On a recent August weekday, Allen was driving to a house that was the site of at least two shootings in the last two days.

In late May, a Waffle House employee in Colorado was shot and wounded. The reason? A patron allegedly grew angry after the employee told him to wear a mask, according to multiple reports.

Latest Shot Fired In Lead Ammo Debate

Aug 20, 2020

The latest round in the fight over lead ammunition is working its way through Congress.

A bill introduced in July by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) would ban lead ammunition on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services land. The agency is responsible for administering national wildlife refuges, which cover 95 million acres across the country — much of that prime hunting ground.

One of Kamala Harris’ more forceful platforms as a presidential candidate was to enact stricter gun control measures, and it’s a platform that she might continue to promote as a vice presidential candidate.

Who Is Most At Risk For Police Violence?

Aug 10, 2020

This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here.

Over the past several years, the problem of police violence in the U.S. has garnered worldwide attention: the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and Walter Scott in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015; and George Floyd in May 2020, among others.

Gun Sales Continued To Rise In July

Aug 4, 2020

Americans bought near-record numbers of guns in July, according to industry estimates, continuing a sales boom experts say is unprecedented.

Gun stores sold 2 million firearms in July, according to estimates from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, a year-over-year increase of 134.6%. SAAF estimates that the bulk of those sales were handgun purchases — continuing a monthslong trend.

The Remington Arms Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court in Alabama as it seeks to restructure for the second time since 2018 amid ongoing legal and financial challenges.

The 204-year-old U.S. gun-maker, among the best-known brands of firearms, filed for Chapter 11 protection Monday at a time when heightened anxieties linked to the coronavirus pandemic, a slowing economy and ongoing national protests following George Floyd's killing have led to record-high U.S. gun sales.

On a muggy July evening in Durham, North Carolina, a black sedan pulled up to a party. Men got out of what police believe to be a Chevrolet Impala and opened fire on the partygoers gathered in the front yard.

Two young children, ages 8 and 4, were injured in the attack.

Later that night, another shooting — possibly related, according to police — took place at a Durham public housing development about five miles away. A stray bullet flew into an adjacent apartment unit, killing a 12-year-old boy.

Gun Store Robberies Are On The Rise

Jul 20, 2020

Thieves stole more than 1,000 firearms from gun stores across the country in just over one week this spring, according to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. The ATF says thefts of gun stores are on the rise.

To put that in perspective, that haul between May 28-June 5 would have accounted for nearly one-fifth of the roughly 5,600 guns reported stolen in all of 2019.

Thomas Chittum, ATF deputy director for field operations, says a lot of that appears to be tied to unrest around the country in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

Do Safe Storage Gun Laws Prevent Gun Violence?

Jul 15, 2020

This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here.

Left unsecured, guns can be dangerous. While many experts suggest that storing firearms locked away and separate from ammunition can save lives, there is no federal law requiring gun owners to do so.

The recent wave of civil unrest against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd highlights the increased militarization of American law enforcement — including for officers on college campuses.

Three men have been charged for carrying firearms in downtown Asheville on June 21 at a demonstration, according to the Asheville Police Department.  

Armed counterprotesters have confronted anti-racism rallies in at least 33 states, according to a new analysis by Guns & America.

Gun sales continued to mushroom in June, apparently due to a confluence of Joe Biden’s surge in polls, the spread of COVID-19, and ongoing protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Americans bought 2.4 million firearms in June, according to industry estimates from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting. That is a 145% increase from June 2019. Handgun sales make up the bulk of those estimates and increased at an even higher year-over-year rate of 178%.

At anti-racism rallies and marches across the country, protesters are coming face to face with police — but also with heavily armed civilians. America’s gun laws make it difficult to diffuse the tension.

Updated 4:15 p.m.

Police say three people were killed and 11 others injured after a shooting at a block party in northwest Charlotte early Monday. Five of the people injured were hit by cars. 

A National Guard soldier called in to help quell protests in Louisville fatally shot Kentucky restaurant owner David McAtee.

The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests against police violence have put the country on edge, and the unrest appears to be a recruiting opportunity for some anti-government groups.

Experts say economic devastation, fear and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus — as well as heavy-handed government tactics — are pushing some Americans toward groups like militias that espouse self-reliance, armed resistance and a dim view of government.

Gun sales continued to boom in May, the third-straight month with a spike in estimated sales.

Americans bought more than 1.7 million firearms in May, according to estimates from industry analyst Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting. That is down from an estimated 1.8 million firearms in April, but an 80% year-over-year estimated increase.

The FBI says it performed more than 3 million background checks in its NICS database in May, more than 700,000 more checks than it performed in May 2019.

Courtesy of Ways & Means

What does it mean to take a unique approach to solving problems like gun violence, climate change, voter apathy or racism? It means asking hard questions in different ways and tracking the answers through close study of human behavior. 

The silhouette of a person in front of a broken stained glass window
Watkins Stained Glass Studio

Is it easier to turn the other cheek while packing heat? Like the Vedas, Torah and Quran, the New Testament’s verdict on violence and self-defense is a moving target.

Over 60,000 people head to Las Vegas each year for a gun industry juggernaut: The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s “SHOT Show” a Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show that is the main event for the $6 billion industry.

“This is to the firearms and ammunition world what the Detroit auto show is to the car world,” said Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).