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assault weapons

How America Fell In Love With Guns

Jun 13, 2016
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As the county reels from Sunday morning’s events in Orlando, America’s complicated relationship with guns is once again a public conversation. Earlier this month on Think, Krys Boyd explored the topic with Pamela Haag, author of, “The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture.”

Editor's note, June 16: An earlier version of this story said Omar Mateen carried an AR-15, based on comments from Orlando Police Chief John Mina, who said Sunday that the gun was an "AR-15-assault-type rifle." Law enforcement officials subsequently told NPR that the gun was a Sig Sauer MCX, a rifle similar to an AR-15 but also different in fundamental ways. This story reflects the change.

In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Hillary Clinton told NPR that in order to counter "self-radicalization," she wanted to create a team "exclusively dedicated to detecting and preventing lone wolf attacks" and possibly even expand terrorist watch lists.

She also called for creating more "integrated intelligence use" among local, state and national law enforcement; "strengthening communication" with other countries; and working with Silicon Valley to "prevent online radicalization."

A gunman opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday morning, killing at least 50 people in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history before being shot dead by police.

At first, they say, it seemed like just part of the music.

It was a Saturday night and the dance tracks had been pounding at the Pulse Orlando nightclub, which calls itself the city's hottest gay bar. A sharp, staccato sound, arriving shortly after 2 a.m. ET, didn't seem out of place.

"I thought it was a Ying Yang Twins song or something," club-goer Christopher Hansen told reporters. "It went with the beat almost."

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

As a shaken Orlando tries to come to grips with the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, here are five ways KERA has explored the gun issue on radio and television in recent months.

In what has become an all-too-familiar ritual in the United States, President Obama said the mass shooting in Orlando on Sunday morning was an "act of terror and an act of hate."

"This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American ... is an attack on all of us," Obama said during remarks from the White House briefing room. "No act of hate or terror will ever change who we are as Americans."

Obama also said that this shooting is a reminder of "how easy it to let people get their hands on a weapon" that will let them open fire on a place like a school.

The attack in San Bernardino that left 16 people dead, including the shooters, came just five days after the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Three years ago, in July 2012, journalist Mark Follman heard about the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting rampage that left 12 people dead and felt compelled to learn more — not just about that incident, but about all the mass shootings that were occurring in America.

Follman, the national affairs editor of Mother Jones, began looking for information online, but it soon became evident that no good databases about the subject existed.

NRA/YouTube

A National Rifle Association executive says it was a mistake to criticize Texas gun rights advocates who have been carrying military-style assault rifles in public places around the state.

David Chong / KERA News

Nowhere is the gun lobby stronger than in Texas. But even in Lone Star country, the Connecticut school shootings have sparked debate over new restrictions on owning assault weapons.

David Chong for KERA News

Attorney General Greg Abbott's office has released  a  list of 78 Texas school districts that have not filed a school safety plan or an updated audit of the plan as required by law.

The list includes North Central Texas school districts in Crandall, Italy, Kennedale, Milford and Melissa.