Guns & America | KCUR

Guns & America

Captain Paul Lusczynski, of the Tampa, Florida, police department, sits across from an unidentified man at a table.
Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

For years, Kansas City, Missouri, has suffered from one of the highest homicide rates among big American cities.

Americans Stock Up On Guns Amid Pandemic Fears

Mar 17, 2020
Hady Mawajdeh / KERA

As people across the country stock up on supplies to prepare for weeks of social distancing, Americans are crowding into gun stores, with firearms on their shopping list next to toilet paper and canned goods.

At the Gun Room in Portland, Oregon, owner Shaun Lacasse says Oregonians are buying so many guns the Oregon State Police background check system can’t keep up.

“The whole state was slammed,” Lacasse said on Saturday.

Courtesy Transportation and Security Administration

A federal judge in Washington state issued a temporary injunction on Friday blocking Trump administration rule changes that could allow people to share plans for 3D-printed firearms in person, by mail or email.

The rules would shift oversight for some commercial arms exports from the State Department to the Department of Commerce, which said plans for 3D-printed guns posted online would still require an export license, but plans distributed by mail or in person would not.

Hundreds of gun-restriction advocates visited the Missouri Statehouse on Tuesday to encourage lawmakers to pass stricter gun control measures. 

The specific legislation Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action want would prohibit anyone with a domestic offense conviction or an order of protection from purchasing a firearm.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

Jimenez Arms, the Nevada-based gun manufacturer that Kansas City sued last month, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada.

The company’s bankruptcy petition listed assets of less than $50,000. That, coupled with more than $1,000,000 in outstanding liabilities, may make it difficult for Kansas City,  should it prevail in its lawsuit, to recover compensation from the company.

Scott Franz / KUNC

In its annual scorecard ranking the strength of state gun laws, the gun control advocacy group Giffords boosted ratings for a handful of states in the Midwest and West, most of which have traditionally been home to a strong gun rights culture.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released its scorecard Thursday, touting six states that received higher grades:

Firearm Deaths Hold Steady After Record-Setting 2017

Jan 30, 2020
James Gathany / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A near-record number of Americans died by gunshot in 2018 according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to a CDC spokesperson, nearly 40,000 people died by firearm in America, including suicide, homicide and accidents. The rate of firearm deaths dipped slightly between 2017 and 2018, going from 12 to 11.9 per 100,000 people.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

With city leaders scrambling to combat high levels of gun violence, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is dusting off an old legal tactic: suing the gun industry.

Such lawsuits were relatively common in the 1980s and 1990s, until Congress passed a law in 2005 that largely curtailed the tactic.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

A lawsuit by families of victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has the potential to significantly change what the world knows about how the gun industry thinks and operates. After years of delays, the lawsuit is moving forward, which may force the gun industry to make public what it considers private.

Alcohol Misuse And Gun Violence: What We Know

Dec 17, 2019
Arisa Chattasa / Unsplash

While the relationship between gun violence and mental health get lots of attention, numerous studies have established a much stronger link between excessive alcohol consumption and gun violence.

What The Research Says

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Saturday marked seven years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting that left 20 students and six educators dead. And, as a town came together to remember and to pray in the morning, it also came together to celebrate an unlikely football victory by night’s end.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The holiday shopping season is big business for most retailers in the United States, and the gun industry is no exception. The last three months of the year represent almost a third of annual sales for firearms retailers each year.

A closely watched lawsuit that could provide a roadmap for suing gun companies in the wake of mass shootings can move forward in a Connecticut court, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.

Element5 Digital / Unsplash

Democrats in Virginia claimed big wins in the Tuesday election, fueled in no small part by big investments from gun control advocates.

The historic blue wave marked the first time Democrats seized control of the state’s government in a generation.

What We Know About Targeted School Violence

Nov 8, 2019
Kyo Azuma / Unsplash

The United States Secret Service and National Threat Assessment Center have released a report focused on targeted school violence, including school shootings.

They studied 41 attacks against K-12 schools in the United States from 2008 to 2017. The report focused on the background and behaviors of attackers to identify commonalities among them.

Remember: There Is No Profile. There Is No Single ‘Stressor’

Becker1999 / Flickr

Depending upon whom you ask, there have been somewhere between eight and 350 mass shootings in America so far in 2019. That’s a pretty big range. So why don’t we know the exact number?

Segment 1: New poll data suggests Americans don't know much when it comes to gun-related deaths.  

The results of the latest survey by Guns and America asked people about the causes of gun deaths. Their answers show that more Americans believe it be “murders other than mass shootings" than the actual cause – suicide. Two reporters for the project broke down the survey results and what it means for gun policies in this country.

What’s At Stake In The Guns Case At The Supreme Court?

Sep 26, 2019
noclip / Wikimedia Commons

Dave Hardy, an attorney in private practice in Arizona, thinks this is the term when the Supreme Court finally decides whether a constitutional right to carry a firearm extends beyond the front door.

Gun rights advocates like Hardy, who’s been writing about the Second Amendment since the 1970s, have waited for years for the Supreme Court to hear a new challenge to a gun control law.

“You don’t do much work in the field, in terms of earning money, but it’s been something that interests me,” Hardy said.

Shattered: A First-Hand Look At Life After Being Shot

Sep 25, 2019
Tyrone Turner / WAMU

Of the estimated 300 people in the United States who are shot on an average day, about 200 survive. But many of them do so with devastating physical and emotional scars that last a lifetime.

Their ailments range from paralysis and possible lead poisoning, to crippling anxiety attacks and depression.

Eleven survivors of gun violence tell their stories in their own words in Shattered: Life After Being Shot.

Every individual’s story is paired with a portrait — a composite — using a “stitching” technique that combines multiple pictures.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Gun manufacturer Colt says it plans to suspend production of AR-15-style rifles for the civilian market. The company plans to limit its production to fulfilling its police and military contracts.

The national debate on gun restrictions has largely focused on semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 and other so-called “assault weapons,” because of their use in high-profile mass shootings.

Colt says the decision is not a political one.

Lisa Dunn / WAMU

Following a series of high-profile shootings this summer, many have called on Congress to respond to mounting public pressure and enact new gun regulations after returning from the summer recess.

This week, the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee will take a first step. The committee is scheduled to mark up several new gun control bills that were introduced earlier this year.

The three bills

Update, 6:20 p.m. ET: This story now includes additional language about the types of ammunition Walmart will no longer sell. 

Walmart announced Tuesday that it will discontinue sales of ammunition designed for handguns and military-style rifles such as the AR-15.

The company will also stop allowing customers to openly carry firearms inside its stores, and called on lawmakers to consider passing new gun control legislation.

Shortly after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, eight states passed some form of an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPOs) law, also known as a “red flag” law.

Segment 1: The fact and fiction of mass shootings.

Last week's shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, highlighted misconceptions when it comes to these tragedies. Is there a profile of a mass shooter, can red flag and gun laws reduce the number of incidents and are all the perpetrators mentally ill? Three Guns & America reporters discussed what they have discovered in covering the firearms issues in this country. 

Becker1999/Flickr

Mass shooters killed 31 people last weekend in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, and three people in Gilroy, California last month, including two children. The week was the deadliest for mass shootings and fatalities this year, whichever way one chooses to count them.

In the wake of these incidents, we often hear “no one could have seen this coming,” or “this person just snapped." But what do we know about the perpetrators of mass shootings?

Glenn Carstens Peters / Unsplash

Following the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which killed at least 31 people, lawmakers started to point to one factor that could have contributed to shootings: violent video games.

Here’s the problem: They don’t.

What research says

What Is A Red Flag Law?

Aug 5, 2019
Ryan Carol King / Connecticut Public Radio

Among the popular gun policy proposals raised in the aftermath of shootings like those in Sandy Hook, Parkland and now El Paso and Dayton, the call for “red flag” laws has become a common refrain.

But like universal background checks and closing the “gun show loophole”, “red flag” laws aren’t self-explanatory.

Saturday’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, is the 249th mass shooting incident this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The Archive defines a mass shooting as four or more victims injured or killed excluding the perpetrator in one location.

Matt Gibson / Creative Commons-Flickr

A new study says that fatal shooting cases are getting measurably more attention from police than non-fatal shootings. But one expert thinks giving fatal shootings more attention might not be the most efficient way to combat gun violence.

Fatal and non-fatal shooting cases often start the same way: A gun is fired; someone is hit.

But if someone is killed by those shots, the case gets handed off to the police department’s homicide unit.

During the first night of the second Democratic presidential debate, the question of how to reduce gun violence emerged as one issue on which the sometimes-splintered Democratic Party speaks with as close to one voice as it can.

"As your president, I will not fold," vowed Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., before rattling off her list of proposals, which included background checks, an assault weapons ban and "something" about magazines.

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