Resources for Covering Gun Violence

In this Specialized Reporting Institute, reporters got up close and personal with guns. They handled and fired guns, learned about gun laws and the basics of different styles of weapons and ammunition.
Participants tackled contentious issues as well, learning how the Second Amendment applies to the current debates on gun licensing and control, permits and background checks, and the current laws governing guns around the country.
The debate over gun rights and regulations is not likely to calm down any time soon, and the resources gathered in the Covering Guns SRI might be just what you are looking for as you attempt to make sense of the issues. Separate fact from fiction and avoid emotional arguments that cloud many arguments on both sides by taking a look at what the professionals have to say.
These resources are provided as part of a Specialized Reporting Institute (SRI), “Covering Guns: A McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute,” hosted by The Poynter Institute and Loyola University Chicago on April 1-3, 2013. The SRI was funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Find an Expert

Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm, George Mason School of Law; second amendment issues,

David B. Kopel, Research Director, The Independent Institute and associate policy analyst, the Cato Institute; second amendment issues and firearms policy. He has openly supported and has been supported by the NRA. 510-632-1366

Robert A. Levy, board of directors, the Cato Institute; gun control issues,

Don Haworth, president, Chicagoland Firearm Training; types of guns and ammo, 773-227-5933,

Dr. Gary S. Belkin, senior director for psychiatric services, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and associate professor, NYU Langone Medical Center; mental health and gun violence,

Roseanna Ander, executive director, the Chicago Crime Lab; journalism and gun violence, 312-325-2544,

Blogs Worth Reading

Guns and Gun Control: A compilation of news and commentary on guns and gun control from The New York Times.

Brady Blog: A blog on the website of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization devoted to creating an America free from gun violence.

Twitter Handles to Follow

@BradyPrez: President of the Brady Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

@NRA: National Rifle Association's Twitter feed

What Others Are Doing

Hundreds Gain Gun Permits Despite Police Rejection, Matthew Kaufman and Dave Altimari, The Hartford Courant, June 23, 2013

Brett Parker's fate in hands of jury, Jason Old,, June 7, 2013

Officials: Did gun control rhetoric play role in officer-involved shooting?, Ciara O'Rourke, American-Statesman, May 5, 2013

Key Resources

Resources from the SRI

Covering Guns: A wealth of resources compiled for and during the SRI, this website offers links to articles on gun legislation, gun violence and more.

Timeline of Gun Issues in America: Poynter's Al Tompkins built this timeline to better understand how America’s gun debate has unfolded.

Dr. Gary Belkin's presentation on mental health and guns

Key Web Resources

Americans for Responsible Solutions: Founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, the organization encourages elected officials to support solutions that will prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence: The Brady Center works toward the passage of regulations to reduce gun violence, including regulations governing the gun industry. It also represents victims of gun violence in the courts and educates the public about gun violence.

The Cato Institute on gun control issues: Two scholars from the Cato Institute presented at the SRI. The Institute, a public policy research organization dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace, has published considerable material on gun control and gun rights issues.

Fact-Checking Statements About Guns: has compiled its fact-check on gun-related issues on a single Web page, providing a helpful place for journalists to begin their investigations.

Interactive Map of Gun Control Legislation: This map, created and regularly updated by The Hartford Courant, shows the status of gun legislation in each state.

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: An organization dedicated to providing comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention and the promotion of smart gun laws that save lives. Its website features an interactive map and grading of each state's gun laws.

Mapping the Dead: Gun Deaths Since Sandy Hook: Compiled by the Huffington Post, this site maps gun-related homicides and accidental deaths since the Dec, 14, 2012, Sandy Hook killings.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns: A coalition of mayors balancing a determination to fight crime, a belief that we can do more to stop criminals from getting guns, and a determination to protect the rights of citizens to freely own guns.

University of Chicago Crime Lab Chicago Youth Gun Violence Initiative: The Crime Lab applies scientific research to the issue of crime, hoping to develop innovative new approaches to reducing violence. Its Chicago Youth Gun Violence Initiative aims to better understand the youth who are involved as victims and offenders in gun violence in Chicago and devise intervention strategies that might be helpful in addressing this problem. Click here to read the initiative's report.



Some Gun Facts and Some Gun Truths

Register now for this December 4, 2013 Webinar!

Learn the difference between clips and magazines, cartridges and bullets, pistols and handguns. Knowledge of firearms jargon can increase your awareness, create better understanding of gun issues and policies and improve your coverage of gun-related issues.

In this Webinar, you will also examine two landmark cases that have had a major influence on the Second Amendment.

NewsU Training

Journalism and Trauma: Journalists who cover traumatic events such as violent crimes and horrific accidents are often required to approach and interview trauma victims or their family members. This self-directed course offers some guidelines for handling these difficult interviews. It will teach you how traumatic stress affects victims and how to interview trauma victims with compassion and respect.

Trauma Awareness: What Every Journalist Needs to Know: Covering traumatic events affects journalists' well-being and their ability to do their jobs. This Webinar, originally broadcast Nov. 10, 2009, and offered in partnership with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, teaches journalists to recognize and manage stress and trauma.

On the Beat: Covering Cops and Crime: Learn how to navigate the crime beat and cover cops — without losing your balanced perspective as a journalist. This self-directed course will help you move beyond formulaic stories to provide deeper context to your audience.