Guns

Gun Sales Continued To Rise In July

10 hours ago

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).

The Transportation Security Administration is reminding airport travelers that it's fine to stuff carry-on bags with clothes and toiletries. Just don't pack any heat.

TSA announced that its officers seized 4,432 guns at checkpoints last year — the most in the agency's 18-year history. It also says that 87% of those guns (some 3,855) were loaded.

The cable loops through the gun to keep it from firing.
Raul Rubiera

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.

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.

The Big Business Of School Security

May 8, 2019

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.

After decades of decline, the rate of Americans killing their intimate partners has seen “a sharp increase” in recent years. Data shows that uptick is exclusively due to gun-related murders.

As the pops of gunfire echo around him, Monte Petersen stoops to collect small brass casings that recently flew from his .45 pistol. The cartridges jingle like loose change as he picks them off the gun range floor and tosses them into a bucket.

Petersen is one of thousands, perhaps millions, of target shooters who take their shooting hobby further: Recycling their ammunition cartridges and assembling new cartridges by hand to shoot again.

Matteo, left, and his older brother Caleb play in their backyard in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Kindergartener Caleb practices lockdown drills at his school and so does his little brother Matteo, who is in preschool.
Courtesy of Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

Last year more than 4 million children participated in a school lockdown drill. The exercises are ostensibly a way to train and prepare students, teachers and administrators to keep safe in the event of an active shooter. But no research has been done into the psychological effect of these drills on the children they aim to protect.

photo of a gun show in Houston
M&R Glasgow / Flickr

A month-long debate on an upcoming gun and knife show finally came to a head at a Greensboro City Council meeting this week.

a Remington model 870 shotgun
Keith Srakocic, File / AP

Remington, the storied gun maker that began turning out flintlock rifles when there were only 19 states in the Union, has filed for bankruptcy reorganization amid years of slumping sales and legal and financial pressure over the Sandy Hook school massacre.

In papers filed Sunday in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware, Remington outlined a plan to turn over control to its creditors and continue operating with up to $100 million from lenders. It remains unclear what will happen to its 3,500 or so employees as it tries to put its finances in order.

Zainab Antepli, a junior at Chapel Hill High School, calls for tougher gun laws in front of a large crowd at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Since the mass school shooting in Columbine, America has seemed almost powerless against rogue gunmen attacking defenseless suburban schools. After the tragic killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, many declared that if America did not make changes after Newtown it never would. 

Speedway Children's Charities, a nonprofit founded by Speedway Motorsports owner and chief executive Bruton Smith, receives more National Rifle Association funding than any other school or charity in the nation.
Mike McCarn / AP

The National Rifle Association gave more grant funding to a Concord-based charity than any other school or charity in the nation – by a wide margin.

Speedway Children's Charities received $425,000 from the NRA every year from 2010 through 2016, according to data provided by the Associated Press and analyzed by WUNC.

A graph showing poll results.
Elon Poll

North Carolina teachers do not want their colleagues — not even trained ones — to carry guns in school, according to a new Elon University Poll.

The debate over gun control continues after President Obama's executive action this week designed to curb gun violence.
Peretz Partensky / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama issued an executive action this week designed to curb gun violence. The president said this country's routine mass shootings compelled him to act.

Republican members of Congress swiftly responded with promises to defend Americans' constitutional right to bear arms. But it's not yet clear whether the president's action will change the culture of gun ownership in the United States or where it fits into the national conversation about gun laws. 

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