Guns & America

On a chilly Friday night in Windsor, Colorado, the conservative, gun-loving rocker Ted Nugent entertained a crowd, talking about the Constitution, politics and freedom during a fundraising event for Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams.

“Well, well, well. What have we here? This must be real Colorado!” Nugent said to the crowd. “When I started coming here rockin’ and rollin’ in 1967… Boy, I was in Colorado, man! Ranching, rugged, individual-tough-s***-kicker Colorado! Now it’s like drooling hippie Boulder! What happened there?”

While the hustle of the city may call to some, it doesn’t attract everyone. Many people move to rural areas for the space — a big backyard where they can shoot their guns off the back porch and let children run around. And some move in the pursuit of peace and quiet.

Many advocates and politicians push universal background checks on gun purchases as a way to decrease gun violence. But researchers at Johns Hopkins University say there’s a more effective solution to preventing homicide and suicide: requiring a license to purchase a handgun.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday called a special legislative session on gun violence, citing last week’s deadly mass shooting that claimed 12 lives.

The first time Clevelander Robert Woodard saw someone who had been shot, it was overwhelming.

“So me running to the scene and me getting there and them bleeding and I’m just as hysterical as them,” Woodard remembered. “It’s like, ‘Wow, what do I do?’ I have no tools. I have no anything.”

So last summer Woodard, a violence prevention worker with a group called the Wolfpack, completed a first aid training on how to stop bleeding.

Matthew Richmond, WCPN

Nearly 2 million records were added last year to the FBI database used to prevent criminals from buying a gun, according to a new FBI report on the operations of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.

That’s an 11% increase over 2017.

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.

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.

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.

Teachers or other school staff in districts in 31 states can legally carry weapons in schools, according to a review of state laws and local news coverage by Guns & America.

In 5 states — Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and South Dakota — teachers or other school staff are explicitly authorized by state law to carry firearms in schools, according to a report by the Education Commission of the States.

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.

Almost every morning in January and February, Patrick Parsons records a live Facebook video across the street from the Georgia capitol.

While it looks picturesque online, in person, it’s not the world’s most glamorous moment.

“I’ll probably go over there by the trash can, which is where I usually do it,” said Parsons, laughing. It’s easier to fit the gold dome of the capitol building into the frame from there.

Leftists Bear Arms In Self-Defense

Feb 26, 2019

At Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge Women’s March in January, Ross Eliot brought up the rear, more concerned with what might be happening behind the group than keeping pace with the many chants from the roughly 250-person crowd.

Eliot was there as security. He was looking over his shoulder for anyone who might attack the group.

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.

Laws that allow people to use deadly force when threatened — without requiring them to first retreat — have been sweeping across the nation for over a decade. Today, depending on your definition, “stand your ground” is law in well over half of American states.

Gun deaths in the U.S. have been driving down black life expectancy at a significantly higher rate than for white Americans. That’s according to a new study led by Boston University researchers, funded by the National Institute of Justice.

Co-author Bindu Kalesan is an epidemiologist and data scientist at Boston University. She said plenty is already known about the rates of gun deaths for different racial groups in the U.S.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Republicans at the General Assembly say the school safety funding package in the upcoming state budget is a good first step that will address critical needs, but Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper thinks it comes up short.

School shootings since 2013
Moms Demand Action

Creating a legal method to compel someone to temporarily surrender their guns if they're a danger to themselves or others is a common-sense way to prevent mass shootings and suicides, North Carolina Democratic legislators and gun-control advocates said Tuesday.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – WUNC today announces their selection to participate in Guns & America, a two-year, national reporting collaborative of 10 public media stations, funded by a $5.3 million grant from The Kendeda Fund. The collaboration includes the launch of the first-of-its-kind Audion Fellowship, a program that will train and empower a diverse corps of innovative, cross-platform journalists to cover difficult and divisive topics and lead the public media system.

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