After a steady recent expansion of gun rights in many states, including new laws enacted this year, more Americans can now carry guns in more places than ever before – restaurants, bars, public buildings, churches and some schools and colleges.
While the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) remains the only square inch of compromise between the nation’s divided gun camps, the costly federal program is failing to keep guns away from the dangerously mentally ill. This is despite at least $60 million in federal spending.
Gun violence is killing hundreds of young black men in Baton Rouge, La., Flint, Mich., and Camden, N.J. But mothers and brothers, cops and coaches are pushing back. News21 explores places around the country where gun homicides are most prevalent, and examines the underlying conditions and why the gun rights debate is largely irrelevant there.
Groups prepare to defend themselves against government interference with the “will of the people.” News21 profiles the most militant gun rights activists who believe strongly that they need to protect themselves against those they fear will take away their guns and freedoms.
No one knows how many teachers are armed, but the debate is at full volume: Does it protect children from shootings by intruders or put them at risk of classroom accidents? A number of states and school districts – from Utah and Texas to Tennessee and Georgia – allow principals, teachers and other school personnel to carry guns in K-12 schools.
Connecticut and Arizona have responded in dramatically opposite ways to the 2012 Newtown and 2011 Tucson shootings. The activist gun control campaigning behind Connecticut’s rapid enactment of one of the nation’s strictest package of gun laws contrasts sharply with the activist Second Amendment pressure behind continuing expansion of gun rights laws in Arizona, already the number one place to live for a gun owner, according to Guns and Ammo magazine.
In the run-up to the 2014 congressional and legislative elections, News21 examines the “arms race” between the gun control and gun rights advocacy forces, especially since Bloomberg consolidated some of the gun control groups and pledged $50 million for them this year alone, including their legal and tax status, finances, campaign contributions, interrelationships and rivalries, strategies and tactics.
News21 examines the recent expansion of Stand Your Ground laws, how they have been applied in cases where shooters claim self-defense and what investigations of the laws’ impact show. Since 2005, 31 states have adopted stronger self-defense laws. The laws have been invoked for everything from road rage ending in gunfire to suspected thieves shot to death as they tried to flee.
A federal task force identified sweeping shortfalls in the oversight of hazardous materials in the U.S., showing that short and long-term challenges exist to protect communities from the toxic and explosive chemicals stored at facilities across the nation and in Arizona.
Government agencies across the U.S. can’t regulate ammonium nitrate, the hazardous chemical compound that detonated in West, Texas, killing 15 people and injuring hundreds more, a congressional investigation has found. Emergency management agencies at the local, state and federal levels don’t know how many facilities in the U.S. store the hazardous chemical. A patchwork of outdated regulations, lack of communication between agencies, and a series of exemptions exist for reporting storage of ammonium nitrate, the U.S. Government Accountability Office report stated, which was publicly released May 21. These findings mirror a recent AZCIR and ABC15 investigation into Arizona oversight of ammonium nitrate.