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Guns & America

Columbia Township Paramedic Kevin Barnard demonstrates how to apply a tourniquet. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have offered new evidence that a tourniquet can be applied for longer than previously believed.
Matthew Richmond / WCPN

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.

The Big Business Of School Security

May 10, 2019
Carlos Osorio / Associated Press

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?

Jonathan Levinson / OPB

Standing in his office adjacent to the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct, Roy Moore is explaining how gentrification has escalated some instances of gang violence in the neighborhood.

“We kinda had territories and codes, so I’m not going to go over there unless it’s time to do something,” explained Moore. “Now, it might happen anywhere. Twelve in the morning, nine in the morning going to get my blunt paper, I need my pistol with me now because I don’t know who I’m going to run into.”

In Parts Of Cleveland, You Don't Call 911. You Call Tonto

Apr 29, 2019
Gregory Terrell, Tonto, is a violence interrupter in Cleveland, Ohio. He spends his days driving around neighborhoods on the city's east side, speaking with residents, in the hopes that when there is gun violence, he can help.
Matt Richmond / ideastream

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.

Americans Are Killing Romantic Partners More Often, With Guns

Apr 26, 2019
Trinity Kubassek / Pexels

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.

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

States across the country are passing gun control legislation in response to mass shootings, as groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America gain political clout. In deep red states, though, activists must both temper their expectations and reckon with residents and lawmakers often hostile to any limitations on their right to bear arms.

Butler County Sheriff's Deputy Doug Hale has worked as a school resource officer for 24 years in the Lakota Local School District near Cincinnati.
Matt Richmond / ideastream

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.

Are You Prepared? Taking A Life In Self-Defense

Mar 29, 2019
PVT Friberg with the Oregon National Guard's 741st Brigade Engineer Battalion clears a building on March 2, 2019 at Camp Rilea, Oregon.
Jonathan Levinson / OPB

Standing in the master bathroom of his Bend, Oregon, home, Brennan Pebbles is describing the night a home intruder shot a rifle through his front window, killed his roommate, and then hunted him through his house.

Brian nairB / Creative Commons

As New Zealand reacts to the deadliest mass shooting in its history, the debate over guns is resurfacing here in Connecticut on many fronts.

The Connecticut Supreme Court has dealt a blow to the company that manufactures the semi-automatic rifle used in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Victims' families allowed to proceed with their lawsuit finally may be able to force Remington Arms into turning over information about how it markets such weapons.

David Wheeler, whose son Ben was killed at Sandy Hook, speaks at a press conference after the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

After months of silence, the Connecticut Supreme Court reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting against Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the rifle used in the shooting. 

The House of Representatives side of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The House voted on major gun legislation for the first time in decades.
Lisa Dunn / Guns & America

Almost 25 years to the day after the Brady Bill first mandated background checks for some gun sales, House Democrats and a handful of Republicans just voted to require background checks on all gun sales.

The day in 2012 that a gunman killed 27 people and then himself in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, he didn’t just use a semi-automatic rifle. The shooter had an array of handguns, shotguns and rifles, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting shocked the nation, spurring new conversations about banning so-called assault weapons and magazines that could hold dozens of rounds.

How Are Lockdown Drills Affecting American Kids?

Feb 15, 2019
Adhiti Bandlamudi / North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC

Lockdown drills have become increasingly common in schools across the United States. Though drills differ from school to school, they usually require students to crouch in a corner of their darkened classroom, away from the door, and stay quiet until the teacher says it is okay to start talking again. Students start practicing these drills as early as pre-school, before they can truly understand what threat they are hiding from.

Sandy Hook. Parkland. Santa Fe.

If it seems like school shootings are becoming more common, there is some data to support that.

At the first hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill since 2011, politicians fell into well-worn party roles, but — as they have for much of the last year — young people brought new energy to the familiar debate.

While federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence offenses from buying a gun, the federal background check system is rife with loopholes.
Matthew Warlick for Guns & America

Stephanie Bond was married to her husband for almost 22 years before he called her into the master bedroom one afternoon in February 2010.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

While working as an orthopedic surgeon in Hawaii, Dr. Diane Payne had treated one person with a gunshot wound in three years. But when she moved to Atlanta in 2013, Payne said it was like treating gunshot victims was suddenly all she was doing.

For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving constitutional gun rights.

While the ruling will directly affect only a small group of people ‒ New York City residents who are licensed to own a handgun and want to be able to take that gun outside city limits ‒ the court’s decision to accept the case could signal a new willingness to wade into questions surrounding the Second Amendment.

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.

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.