Chris Haxel | KCUR

Chris Haxel

Guns & America Reporter

Chris comes to KCUR as part of Guns & America, a reporting collaboration between 10 public media stations that is focused on the role of guns in American life. Hailing from Springfield, Illinois, Chris has lived in seven states and four counties. He previously served in the Army, and reported for newspapers in Kansas and Michigan. Chris lives in downtown Kansas City. He roots for St. Louis sports teams, which means he no longer cares about the NFL.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

It's pretty much unanimous now: The Jackson County Detention Center needs to be replaced. That's according to two new, separate studies released Friday afternoon.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

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, and how could they affect gun sales in Kansas and Missouri? Let's take a look at what they would — and would not — entail.

REBECCA HANGE / KCUR 89.3

People are less likely to commit crimes when they think they’ll get caught.

That seeming truism, which is supported by research and the Department of Justice, led the Kansas City Police Department to make some changes this year after a wave of violence in 2017 sent the homicide rate to levels not seen in more than two decades.

Robert J. Dole Federal Courthouse

Though the criminal justice reform bill signed into law Friday by President Donald Trump affects only prisoners charged with federal crimes, it could have an outsized effect in states like Kansas and Missouri, where repeat drug offenders are more likely to face harsh prison sentences.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

It isn't every day three women in their seventies walk into a gun store.

Stephanie Nugent is the rookie, a first-time shooter who before today had never held more than a water gun.

Mary Knox is proficient: Two years ago she was "petrified," but overcame arthritic hands and bought her own pistol for self-defense.

Then there's Karen Corum, who has long had an interest in shooting and says she has "always been fairly good at it." She got Knox into the shooting sports and the duo now shoots together almost every week.

ALLISON LONG / POOL/THE KANSAS CITY STAR

If you want to know how a felon buys a gun, think about how a teenager might buy alcohol.

First, find a willing friend or family member, or maybe even a stranger at a liquor store who wants to make a quick buck. Then give this person some cash, tell them your drink of choice, and wait.

If you’re careful, this transaction — called a “straw purchase” — is impossible to detect. Clerks don’t often hassle a person over 21 who walks alone into a liquor store.

Courtesy of the LaManno family

The family of a woman killed in 2014 outside the Village Shalom retirement community in Overland Park has settled a lawsuit against Walmart, which sold one of the guns used in the shooting.

Terri LaManno, a 53-year-old occupational therapist, was shot outside the facility by Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., the man who killed three people in an attack that began at a nearby Jewish Community Center.

LaManno’s family filed the wrongful death lawsuit in 2016 after a Missouri man who purchased the gun admitted he bought it for Cross in what is known as a straw purchase.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

Arem Mohammed's white tuxedo flashed as bright as his smile while he sang the national anthem for the first time as a U.S. citizen Wednesday at a naturalization ceremony at the central branch of the Kansas City Public Library in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.