Guns & America

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear challenges to 10 gun-related cases next term, likely denying for the time being at least the majority-conservative court the prospect of reshaping gun regulations for the first time this decade.

Many court watchers, whether for or against gun regulations, expected the court to take a Second Amendment case this term; several firearm-related cases have been circulating at the justices’ weekly conferences. Gun rights supporters hope the conservative majority will strengthen an individual’s rights to own and carry guns.

Can Red Flag Laws Prevent Mass Shootings?

Jun 12, 2020

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

A National Guard soldier called in to help quell protests in Louisville fatally shot Kentucky restaurant owner David McAtee.

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests against police violence have put the country on edge, and the unrest appears to be a recruiting opportunity for some anti-government groups.

Jason Gillman / Pixabay

Owning a handgun significantly increases one’s risk of suicide, according to a study published Thursday that tracked new gun owners in California for more than a decade.

Gun Sales Continue To Boom During The Pandemic

Jun 1, 2020
Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

Gun sales continued to boom in May, the third-straight month with a spike in estimated sales.

Julie Braley found comfort in the “VB Strong” stickers that showed up in business and car windows around Virginia Beach in the wake of the coastal city’s tragic mass shooting last year.

“It was nice to see that community coming together to support each other and kind of put their arms around each other in that kind of way,” she said.

Braley works in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and was on the city committee that spent months organizing plans for the city’s public memorials. She wasn’t in the building at the time of the shooting.

Bennilover / Flickr Creative Commons

The global pandemic is putting a strain on Americans’ mental health. There’s been a surge of calls to crisis lines in the past two months. Add a spike in gun sales to that , and experts say we may be at risk of a suicide epidemic.

In many ways, life has slowed down during the coronavirus pandemic but gun violence persists, challenging outreach workers who are trying to stop the violence despite social distancing restrictions.

Gun Sales, Background Checks Still Surging

May 5, 2020
Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

Gun sales continued to surge in April amid pandemic fears, marking the second consecutive month the industry has seen a massive year-over-year spike.

Shannon Downey / Wikimedia Commons

A new study shows that state laws allowing judges to temporarily remove firearms from at-risk people can lower suicide rates among older adults. It also showed that increased firearms regulations in general are associated with lower suicide rates.

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio


Though gun sales skyrocketed last month in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Rifle Association is laying off staff. 

Tia Dufour / The White House

Though gun sales skyrocketed last month in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Rifle Association’s fortunes appear to be headed in the opposite direction.


Fears of the impact of coronavirus have seen gun sales shoot up. Some first-time buyers say they’re turning to guns to keep their families safe, though the presence of a gun has been linked to an increase in violence.

As Americans flock to gun stores in the face of coronavirus fears, many gun dealers report an influx of new customers, taking home a deadly weapon for the first time. In response, long-time gun owners from across the country are stepping up to help these newcomers get some safety training in the age of social distancing.

Quantifying the number of first-time buyers is impossible, but anecdotally, gun store owners say there are many.

Gun Sales Skyrocket In March On Pandemic Fears

Apr 2, 2020
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Americans bought millions of guns in March, apparently driven by fears of the societal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

Ammon Bundy is holding court in a chilly warehouse by the railroad tracks in rural Emmett, Idaho. Yes, that Ammon Bundy.

Governors of several states have closed gun shops and dealers as part of their orders shuttering “non-essential” businesses to the public in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, drawing the ire and legal firepower of gun rights groups. Adding to the confusion, businesses selling firearms are exempted from these orders in states like Connecticut, Ohio and Illinois.

Raed Mansour / Flickr Creative Commons


Extended social isolation. Layoffs. A run on firearms. These are indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also conditions that have suicide experts worried about at-risk Americans. 

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As health officials struggle to suppress the spread of COVID-19, many entangled in the U.S. court system, including domestic violence accusers and those with pending court hearings, are left with the difficult question of what comes next.