Guns & America

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Attorneys general from three swing states are vowing to fight voter intimidation after comments from the president raised worries of armed confrontations at polling places.

Screengrab via Vimeo

Utah state Rep. Steve Eliason had a jarring wake-up call to the suicide crisis in his state in 2012. Several of his son’s middle school classmates died by suicide that year.

The small town of Craig, Colorado, sits on a winding river in a wide valley in the rural northwest corner of the state. Wild horses roam the wide open landscape, as do herds of elk. The area is a sportsman’s paradise.

“Craig, Colorado, is one of the elk hunting capitals of the country and the world. Most people have a lot of hunting rifles,” explains Damon Hatfield, who lives in Craig and works at the local coal mine. “I think almost every home in Craig would have a gun in it of some sort.”

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

Drifters Western Bar And Grill is a no-nonsense diner in a red wooden building just past the sign that welcomes you to Emida, Idaho. Elk and deer mounts adorn the wall, and maple leaf flags remind you that you’re just three hours south of the Canadian border.

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has set the stage for a historic shift in the court’s makeup and could significantly change how the court views any given gun law in relation to the Second Amendment.

How Many People In The U.S. Own Guns?

Sep 18, 2020

This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here.

In late May, a Waffle House employee in Colorado was shot and wounded. The reason? A patron allegedly grew angry after the employee told him to wear a mask, according to multiple reports.

Gun violence prevention found the spotlight like never before at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. It’s the latest sign that what was once considered a controversial, third-rail topic has become a core issue for the Democratic Party.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden is seen as a centrist, and this year’s DNC was clearly designed at least in part to woo Republicans disenchanted with President Donald Trump.

Latest Shot Fired In Lead Ammo Debate

Aug 18, 2020
Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

The latest round in the fight over lead ammunition is working its way through Congress.

A bill introduced in July by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) would ban lead ammunition on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services land. The agency is responsible for administering national wildlife refuges, which cover 95 million acres across the country — much of that prime hunting ground.

Who Is Most At Risk For Police Violence?

Aug 6, 2020

This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here.

Over the past several years, the problem of police violence in the U.S. has garnered worldwide attention: the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and Walter Scott in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015; and George Floyd in May 2020, among others.

Gun Sales Continued To Rise In July

Aug 4, 2020
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Americans bought near-record numbers of guns in July, according to industry estimates, continuing a sales boom experts say is unprecedented.

armed protest counter protest
Madelyn Beck / Boise State Public Radio

As a Jeep drove into a crowd of anti-police violence protesters seeking to shut down a busy highway in Aurora, Colorado, gunshots rang out.

No one was hit by the Jeep, according to police, but two protesters were struck by gunfire and ended up at local hospitals.

Gun Store Robberies Are On The Rise

Jul 21, 2020
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Thieves stole more than 1,000 firearms from gun stores across the country in just over one week this spring, according to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. The ATF says thefts of gun stores are on the rise.

The recent wave of civil unrest against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd highlights the increased militarization of American law enforcement — including for officers on college campuses.

Steven Weiss was protesting in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center. It was June 19, three weeks into near-nightly protests against systemic racism and police violence. Those protests routinely culminated each night with police resorting to violence to disperse hundreds of nonviolent protesters.

Gun sales continued to mushroom in June, apparently due to a confluence of Joe Biden’s surge in polls, the spread of COVID-19, and ongoing protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Americans bought 2.4 million firearms in June, according to industry estimates from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting. That is a 145% increase from June 2019. Handgun sales make up the bulk of those estimates and increased at an even higher year-over-year rate of 178%.

Madelyn Beck / Mountain West New Bureau

At anti-racism rallies and marches across the country, protesters are coming face to face with police — but also with heavily armed civilians. America’s gun laws make it difficult to diffuse the tension.

This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here.

In cities like Denver, Detroit and Chicago, summer jobs programs are a key strategy in youth gun violence prevention. But this summer, the pandemic is forcing many cities to scramble to move these programs online while dealing with budget restrictions.

States with the most restrictive combination of three gun laws saw an 11% reduction in firearm deaths over three decades, according to estimates from a new study by the RAND Corporation. The three laws identified by researchers were child access prevention laws, right-to-carry laws and stand-your-ground laws.