Guns & America | Connecticut Public Radio
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Guns & America

Lawmakers this week are reintroducing federal legislation that would require background checks on nearly all gun purchases — what they call “universal background checks.” But what are universal background checks? Let’s take a look at what they would — and would not — entail.

James Banks has spent his whole life in Cleveland's St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.
Matt Richmond / ideastream

One day not long ago, James Banks, 18, was sitting in his house in the St. Clair–Superior neighborhood in Cleveland. He picked up a tape recorder and turned it on.

Dr. Erik Wallace tells his story during a 'Think Tank' meeting on how to reduce gun violence in El Paso County, Colo.
Leigh Paterson / KUNC

Gun issues haven't always been important to Dr. Erik Wallace.

As a young kid growing up in Northern California, Wallace discovered his dad's handgun in a dresser drawer but was scared of what his dad would do if he touched it. He had a BB gun when he was young but preferred to play baseball, and has never been interested in hunting.

Of the dozens of firearms Scott Shepherd owns, he says the AR-15 is probably his favorite.
Leigh Paterson / KUNC

Scott and JJ Shepherd live in a white house at the end of a dirt road in Walden, Colorado, a small town near the Wyoming border.

Toy guns have been a popular item on Christmas gift wish lists for decades. Little Ralphie Parker from the 1983 holiday classic A Christmas Story spends most of the movie wishing for a “Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle.”

Many toy guns look more real than toy, however, which has city officials, law enforcement and safety experts across the country urging parents to use extreme caution when purchasing them for children.

Hunters Aim To Fight Hunger By Donating Meat

Dec 20, 2018

On an unseasonably warm November day, hunter Cole Cushman loaded his pickup truck with camouflage gear, bright orange hats and a Browning 7 mm rifle for a hunt deep in the Virginia woods.

The autumn and winter months mark deer season for much of the United States, and for Cushman and other hunters across the country, a chance to feed their neighbors through various local hunger-relief programs.

Bump stocks harness a gun's recoil to speed up the rate of fire. Ten states banned the plastic attachments in the wake of a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Courtesy Michael Cargill

The Trump administration says it will soon place a federal ban on bump stocks, the gun attachments that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire faster. Ten states banned the plastic device after it was used by a gunman in Las Vegas to shoot and kill 58 people in 2017.

This year, high-profile incidents like the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade as well as clusters of suicides among young people in communities all over the country have served as a reminder that suicide is a growing public health issue in the U.S.

Last year, more than 771 million people passed through airport security nationwide. Among the liquids and wrapped presents Transportation Security Administration agents unearth in passengers’ carry-ons, they’re finding more and more firearms.

From 2015 to 2017, the TSA found at least 9,866 firearms in carry-on baggage at airports nationwide.

Kathrine Holte

The repeated incidents of mass shootings are shocking. Yet, they're sanitized and abstract for most of us who haven't been directly touched by gun violence.

The response to mass shootings has become predictable: anguished adults, candlelight vigils, and photos and remembrances of the victims in happier times. It's never about the carnage or the lingering impact on survivors or their families, communities,  medical doctors, nurses and psychiatrists who care for them. 

About a hundred students at the Emory School of Medicine gathered during lunch earlier this fall, scarfing down their meal before a panel discussion. They came, on their own time, to learn how to talk to their future patients about gun safety. They only had an hour.

Gun violence prevention groups launched a multi-million dollar campaign to elect pro-gun control candidates across the country during this year’s midterms. Those efforts are now associated with key wins that helped Democrats retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives and could shape gun policy in the coming session.