Online Resources for Covering Guns

Resources recommended by speakers and participants at the Dart Center workshop "Covering Guns."

Gun Terminology and Vocabulary

A basic guide for describing firearms, accessories, and safety or regulatory technologies, from Everytown for Gun Safety.

The Nine Most Misused Gun Terms, from Guns & Ammo. 


Gun ownership

General Social Survey: University of Chicago: The General Social Survey (GSS) monitors societal change and studies the growing complexity of American society. It gathers data on contemporary American society to monitor and explain trends and constants in attitudes, behaviors, and attributes and to examine the structure and functioning of society.

Trends in Gun Ownership in the United States, 1972-2014, from the General Social Survey.

Household Gun Ownership and Practice by State: CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Study (2001)

Hunting licensees data: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.

"More Guns, More Crime" by Mark Duggan.

Fact sheets and background from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Presentation video of James V. Grimaldi, staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, explaining how to investigate gun sales.

Shorenstein Center's compilation of research on buyer background checks and mental illness.


Gun crime and violence

ATF data and statistics index: U.S. Firearms Trace Data, Annual Firearms Manufacturers and Export Report, Federal Firearms Licensee Statistics Theft/Loss Reports & Number of NFA (National Firearms Act) Firearms processed by fiscal year, from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

National Violent Death Reporting System: The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides states and communities with a clearer understanding of violent deaths to guide local decisions about efforts to prevent violence and track progress over time. NVDRS is the only state-based surveillance reporting system that pools data on violent deaths from multiple sources into a usable, anonymous database. These sources include state and local medical examiner, coroner, law enforcement, crime lab, and vital statistics records. 

HCUP Medical data: obtain incident-level data for ER visits for gunshot injury, from Healthcare Cost & Utilization Project. 

National Crime Victimization Survey: The National Crime Victimization Survey, administered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, is a national survey of 49,000 to 77,4000 households twice a year in the U.S. on the frequency of crime victimization, as well as characteristics and consequences of victimization.

Shotspotter data for Washington D.C. (2006-13): incident-level, though subject to biases introduced by the technology itself, from Public Intelligence.

Fact Sheet: U.S. Gun Violence Trends, from Everytown for Gun Safety.


Gun laws and enforcement

National Instant Criminal Background Check Information, from Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Federal Law on Tiahrt Amendments, from Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 

Federal prosecutions for firearm-related crimes, compiled by Syracuse TRAC database.

State Background Check Requirements and Rates of Firearm Homicide Against Law Enforcement Officers, from Everytown for Gun Safety. includes fact sheets, inforgraphics, legal documents, maps, polls, reports and videos on issues including background checks, domestic violence, gun violence trends, guns in public places, illegal gun trafficking, online gun sales, suicide, the gun lobby and unintentional firearm-related deaths.

"Access Denied: How the Gun Lobby is Depriving Police, Policy Makers and the Public of the Date We Need to Prevent Gun Violence": includes information on the state of scientific research, access to data for law enforcement, and recommendations for elected officials by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 


Violence Prevention

Philadelphia CeaseFire: A public health intervention program that uses methods and strategies associated with disease control. 

Cure Violence: An international violence prevention organization that uses methods and strategies associated with disease control – detecting and interrupting conflicts, identifying and treating the highest risk individuals, and changing social norms. Offers a variety of fact sheets, data sets and other useful resources.

Violence Prevention Resource Program: The Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) is an organized research program of the University of California, Davis. Founded more than 30 years ago, Garen J. Wintemute, M.D. M.P.H. serves as the founding director. Dr. Wintemute is a professor of emergency medicine, public health epidemiologist, and a world-renowned expert on the public health crisis of gun violence. 


Domestic Violence and Guns

Tip sheets, event video and other resources, from the Dart Center's 2011 workshop on covering domestic violence.

Fact Sheet: State Background Check Requirements and Rates of Domestic Violence, from Everytown for Gun Safety.

Report: Domestic Abuse Protective Orders and Firearm Access in Rhode Island, from Everytown for Gun Safety.

Census: Domestic Violence Gun Homicides in Arizona, from Everytown for Gun Safety.


School Shootings

Reporter Dave Cullen's lessons from a decade of reporting on the mass shooting at Columbine High School.

A self-study unit on covering terrorism.

A compilation of journalist-to-journalist advice.

Professor Meg Moritz shares four lessons on covering school shootings.

A series of resources on covering school shootings, with lessons from student journalists who covered shootings at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech.

Dart Center Executive Director Bruce Shapiro passes on lessons for newsrooms learned from the Virginia Tech shooting.

Analysis: School Shootings, from Everytown for Gun Safety.

Live blog and other resources from "Sandy Hook & Beyond," a Dart Center symposium. (Video coverage will be restored shortly)


Suicide and Guns

Tip sheets, event video and other resources, from the Dart Center's 2012 workshop on covering suicide.

Fact Sheet - State Background Check Requirements and Suicide, from Everytown for Gun Safety.

Means Matter Basics, from Harvard School of Public Health.

"Mortality among recent purchasers of handguns," by Garen J Wintemute.

Jed Foundation: Leading organization that works to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college and university students. Offers resources for students, parents, campus professionals and others.

22 Until None: A project focused on veterans and suicide.

Attempt Survivors: A project for the American Association of Suicidology that focuses on people who have attempted suicide. 


Reporters Resources – Style Guides

National Center for Disability Journalism Style Guide: Style guide offering guidance to journalists on language and terminology pertaining to disabilities of all kinds. 

The Writer's Guide to Firearms and Ammunition, from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


Projects featured as part of the "Covering Guns" workshop

The Gun Crisis Reporting Project: Innovative local gun reporting project in Philadelphia.
Speaker: Jim MacMillan

The Hidden Life of Guns: A year-long investigation documenting the ways guns move through American society, from sales at retail dealers to street crimes.
Speaker: Cheryl W. Thompson

The True Cost of Gun Violence in America: An in-depth investigative project looking at the economic and social cost of gun violence in America.
Speaker: Mark Follman

Hired Guns: National project investigating the armed security guard industry in the U.S.
Speaker: Shoshana Walter 


Recommended Books & articles 

Don’t Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America
David M. Kennedy

The Gun Debate: What Every Person Needs to Know
Philip J. Cook

The Truth About Gun Control
Dave Kopel

The Journalists’ Guide to District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago
Dave Kopel

The Epidemiology of Firearm Violence in the Twenty-First Century United States
Garen Wintemute

Effects of Policies Designed to Keep Firearms from High-Risk Individuals
Garen Wintemute & Daniel Webster

Alcohol Misuse, Firearm Violence Perpetration and Public Policy in the United States
Garen Wintemute

Bradford Hill Criteria: "The Environment and Disease: Association and Causation?" by Sir Austin Bradford Hill.



Tragedies & Journalists: A 40-page guide to help journalists, photojournalists and editors report on violence while protecting both victims and themselves.

Does UGC Lead to PTSD?: A study focused on journalists working with traumatic imagery.

Working with Traumatic Imagery: A tip sheet, partly created in response to the study above.

Best Practices in Trauma Reporting: Drawn from a decade of Dart Award-winning stories and aimed at providing perspective and insight on covering victims of violence.

Self Care Tips for News Media: Based on research findings on well-being and resilience and the practical experience of news professionals in the field.

Reporters Exposed to Traumatic Events: Tips for managers and editors.

Ethics & Practice - Interviewing Victims: A tipsheet from our 2011 workshop "Out of the Shadows: Reporting on Intimate Partner Violence.”

Working with Victims and Survivors: Journalists, researchers and mental health professionals offer advice on how to deal with people caught up in tragic events.