Guns

First-time gun owners, young and old from across the country, are helping to push record levels of gun sales for what looks like the second year in a row.

"My gun store has had a run like I've never seen before," said Todd Cotta, the owner of Kings Gun Center in Hanford, Calif., in the state's agriculturally rich Central Valley. "It was just an avalanche of new gun buyers for the first time."

Updated April 15, 2021 at 8:30 PM ET

Chicago has released video footage showing the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, more than two weeks after the 13-year-old was killed during a foot chase in the Little Village neighborhood.

A graphic and disturbing video captures what police have described as an alleyway confrontation between Toledo and an officer identified as Eric Stillman in the early morning of March 29.

Updated April 8, 2021 at 4:00 PM ET

Declaring U.S. gun violence an "epidemic" and "an international embarrassment," President Biden outlined actions to regulate certain firearms and to try to prevent gun violence after a spate of mass shootings in recent weeks and pressure from advocates.

"This is an epidemic, for God's sake, and it has to stop," Biden said.

Updated April 8, 2021 at 9:57 AM ET

President Biden on Thursday will announce initial steps his administration plans to take on firearm safety, along with the nomination of a prominent gun safety advocate to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The moves, which were previewed Wednesday evening by a senior administration official, come after recent high-profile mass shootings put added pressure on Biden to act on gun violence.

The year of the pandemic was also the year of the gun. Shootings took off in almost every city, large and small. New York saw shootings double, and nationally, non-suicide gun deaths jumped about 25%, according to the independent Gun Violence Archive.

A gate across a narrow dirt road
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Imagine you’re a resident of a quiet, rural community in southern Vermont, and a guy from New York moves to town and starts operating a tactical shooting range without a permit.

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court embarks on the second half of a term with a fortified 6-to-3 conservative majority. But unlike the first half of the term, there will be no norm-busting President Trump often railing at the court's election decisions. In tone, President Biden probably will be the functional opposite, but his policies are likely to be greeted with more skepticism.

screenshot of VTDigger's website with an image of guns with Facebook comments overlaid, with the caption that slate ridge training center devotees have harrassed neighbors, posted photos of weapons stockpiles and in practice sessions have shot up vehicles
VTDigger

There’s no reporter byline on VTDigger’s story "Militia Training Site Terrifies Neighbors In West Pawlet". But given its content, it's understandable. The investigation by several reporters describes neighbors in the southwest Vermont community who say they fear for their personal safety due to alleged threats and intimidation from the owner and patrons of a local firearms training facility known as Slate Ridge.

Cowboy Action Shooters compete in Vermont
Erica Heilman / For VPR


Cowboy Action Shooting is a sport that attempts to relive the time of the "Old West". And every summer, cowboy shooters converge on the Northeast Kingdom for the Single Action Shooting Society’s Vermont State Cowboy Action Shooting Championship.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The attorney general of New York took action Thursday to dissolve the National Rifle Association following an 18-month investigation that found evidence the powerful gun rights group is "fraught with fraud and abuse."

Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period.

A loaded AR-15 rifle magazine on top of a loaded 9mm pistol magazine.
Althom / iStock

In 2018, Vermont lawmakers passed — at the behest of Gov. Phil Scott — multiple new gun control laws. Among them was a ban on the sale, possession or transfer of long gun magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and hand gun magazines holding more than 15.

Now that ban is being challenged before the Vermont Supreme Court. We talk with a reporter following the case and the arguments the court is hearing.

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 U.S. are stepping up to help these newcomers get some safety training in the age of social distancing.

Ryan Pascal, a 17-year-old student at Palos Verdes High School near Los Angeles, says when her school holds active shooter drills, it's "chaos." The first time it happened, not long after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, rumors started flying over Snapchat and text that the school was really under attack.

"We had some students trying to stack up desks to blockade the door. We had some students sort of joking around because they weren't sure how to handle this. There are other students who are very, very afraid."

An AR-15 rifle pictured with a 30-round magazine and a 10-round magazine. Vermont law now prohibits the sale and purchase of magazines with more than 10 rounds.
Charles Krupa / Associated Press

The term "sanctuary city" is often used to indicate a city or town that limits its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. But in a small but growing number of Vermont towns, there's another sanctuary movement taking place: resolutions to make their community a "second amendment sanctuary," a symbolic rebuff of any federal or state laws that would put limits on one's right to bear arms. 

Why Gun Violence Is Surging In Toronto

Jan 17, 2020

Gun violence is a growing problem in Canada's biggest city — and last year was Toronto's worst, with more shootings than any year to date, according to Toronto police statistics.

The highest-profile incident came in June, when shots rang out as more than a million fans gathered in Nathan Phillips Square to celebrate the Toronto Raptors' first NBA championship. Four people were injured in the shooting, and a panicked stampede of fans ensued.

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. 

A gun with a safety lock on it.
Taylor Dobbs, Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR File

More than half of all Vermont households have firearms. The majority say they use them for hunting. Gun owner or not, firearm safety is a big conversation in many families with kids. We're in the midst of deer rifle season, and on the next Vermont Edition, we're going to talk about gun safety and how families decide when, and how, to introduce young people to firearms. 

Firearms manufacturer Colt says it is suspending production of its popular AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifle for the civilian market, saying it will concentrate instead on fulfilling contracts from the military and law enforcement.

Updated at 2:53 p.m. ET

There is widespread support among Americans — Democrats, Republicans and gun owners alike — for a number of initiatives to curb gun violence they would like to see Congress pass, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Laws that would screen for the types of people who could use a gun are broadly popular, but when it comes to bans on certain types of weapons and ammunition, a divide emerges.

Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET

The death toll from a mass shooting carried out by a gunman in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa has risen from five to seven, and 22 others remain injured, officials said on Sunday.

Authorities said a man armed with an "AR-type weapon" was killed by police just moments before heading toward a crowded movie theater, preventing what investigators said could have been an even deadlier rampage.

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