This report is part of the project titled “Gun Wars: The Struggle Over Rights and Regulation in America,” produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 initiative, a national investigative reporting project headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. This year’s News21 program involves top student journalists from 16 universities, under the direction of professional investigative journalists. The Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting is pleased to provide a series of these stories over the next week, many of which have ties to Arizona.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
From Arizona to Mississippi, 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.
An analysis of child and youth deaths from 2002 to 2012 shows at least 28,000 children and teens 19-years-old and younger were killed with guns. Most of those were homicides, followed by suicides and accidents. Teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 made up over two-thirds of all youth gun deaths in America.
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.
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.
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.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.
Americans are twice as likely to die from turning guns on themselves as they are to be murdered with one. Now, gun shops and ranges are joining up with prevention specialists to try to prevent suicides. A national News21 analysis of 2012 data found 18,602 firearm suicides in 44 states compared with about 9,655 firearm homicides in 49 states.