Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "gun" ...

  • Guns in Airports, Passengers Packing Heat

    2018 set a record for people trying to carry guns through airport TSA checkpoints. 4,239 guns were found in carry-on bags at airports across the country, that’s 12 guns every day. 86% of those guns were loaded. Our 11-month investigation focused on who was attempting to take firearms through security checkpoints and examined why there has been such a sharp increase in the numbers of weapons found in airports in recent years.
  • The Henry Pratt Mass Shooting

    On the afternoon of Feb. 15, disgruntled warehouse employee Gary Martin opened fire during a termination hearing at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Ill., killing five people and wounding several police officers before being fatally shot by law enforcement. Before police publicly identified Martin, the Tribune learned his name from sources and began investigating his background. One thing quickly became clear: Martin, a convicted felon who had served prison time for attempting to kill his girlfriend, never should have been allowed to purchase the gun used in the shooting. This discovery – aided by carefully worded Freedom of Information Act requests, unparalleled sourcing and a review of extensive court records – prompted the Illinois State Police to disclose hundreds of pages of documents related to Martin’s firearms license and gun purchase within days of the shooting. It was an unprecedented release of information, in terms of both expediency and subject manner. Illinois law expressly prohibits the disclosure of records related to firearm owner’s identification cards or concealed carried permits, but Tribune reporters were able to convince law-enforcement officials that Martin’s firearms history should be exempt from such protections because he fraudulently obtained his license by lying on his permit application. Upon receiving this information, reporters submitted further FOIAs in an effort to understand the depths of the state’s problem. A reporting project that started within hours of a mass shooting grew into an investigation that found 34,000 Illinois had their gun permits revoked – and that the state has no idea what happen to their guns. That meant 78 percent of people stripped of their gun licenses failed to account for their weapons. The responsive records – some of which required difficult fights and keen sourcing to obtain - exposed serious flaws in the national databases relied upon to conduct criminal background checks, as well as the state’s failure to ensure that people surrender their weapons after their Firearm Owner's Identification cards are revoked. In an analysis of data released for the first time, the Tribune found as many as 30,000 guns may still be in possession of people deemed too dangerous to own firearms. The Tribune also was able to create an online-lookup that allowed readers to look up how many people in their town had their gun permits stripped, the reason for the revocation and how many times that person had made a serious inquiry about purchasing a gun.
  • Free to Shoot Again

    In cities from coast to coast, the odds that a shooter will be brought to justice are abysmally low and dropping. Police make an arrest in fewer than half of the murders committed with firearms. If the victim survives being shot, the chance of arrest drops to 1 out of 3. Staffing constraints are so dire at many police departments that thousands of nonfatal shooting cases are never even assigned a detective. The shooters are left free to strike again, fueling cycles of violence and eroding the public’s trust in law enforcement. The Trace, in partnership with BuzzFeed News and later WTTW, published “Free to Shoot Again,” a series of stories that interrogates this failure in policing and the toll that it takes on the people who live in the communities most impacted by gun violence.
  • Free to Shoot Again

    In cities from coast to coast, the odds that a shooter will be brought to justice are abysmally low and dropping. Police make an arrest in fewer than half of the murders committed with firearms. If the victim survives being shot, the chance of arrest drops to 1 out of 3. Staffing constraints are so dire at many police departments that thousands of nonfatal shooting cases are never even assigned a detective. The shooters are left free to strike again, fueling cycles of violence and eroding the public’s trust in law enforcement. The Trace, in partnership with BuzzFeed News and later WTTW, published “Free to Shoot Again,” a series of stories that interrogates this failure in policing and the toll that it takes on the people who live in the communities most impacted by gun violence.
  • Easy Targets

    There are some sixty-three thousand licensed gun dealers in the U.S.—nearly twice the number of McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. But, unlike other businesses that deal in dangerous products, such as pharmacies or explosives makers, most gun stores face no legal requirements to secure their merchandise. As a result, there has been a sharp increase in gun-store thefts. This story focuses on a group of thieves who preyed on gun stores in North Carolina, stealing more than two hundred weapons over a four-month period. The Trace and The New Yorker relied on thousands of public records and more than fifty interviews to track these guns through a network of black-market profiteers.
  • Gunshots and Lockdowns: When Nearby Gun Violence Interrupts The School Day

    The piece focuses on how daily gun violence affects schools in Washington, D.C. What happens when students go to school in areas with a high rate of gun crime? To avoid emotional harm, we took a secondary data analysis approach to answering that question — pulling gunshot data from D.C.'s Shotspotter database. We then calculated the number of gunshots within a 1,000-foot radius of schools, and used the geography of the city to begin to find our way to an answer.
  • WRAL: Presumption of Fear

    An examination of North Carolina's castle doctrine law and how it was used, or misused, to keep a rural minister from being charged in the shooting death of his son-in-law.
  • WAMU 88.5: "Collateral Damage"

    The WAMU 88.5 series “Collateral Damage” chronicled the impact in human terms of the Washington, D.C., police department’s aggressive focus on confiscating illegal guns. The investigation explored how tactics used by police to search for guns are angering and alienating the very residents they are sworn to protect, especially in D.C.’s predominantly black neighborhoods where police focus these efforts.
  • The Trace: NRA Lobbyist Marion Hammer

    In this investigative profile, Mike Spies exposes how the NRA’s most powerful lobbyist turned Florida into a lab for the nation’s most aggressive gun laws.
  • The Texas Observer with The Investigative Fund: The Surge

    If Texas’s border counties have some of the lowest crime rates in the nation, why are they so heavily policed? As Melissa del Bosque shows, the State of Texas has gone all in on border security spending, devoting $2.6 billion to special-ops teams, armored gunboats, high-tech spy planes, and a surge of law enforcement personnel in the past several years — on top of a multibillion-dollar federal border security operation. For her piece for The Texas Observer, in partnership with The Investigative Fund, del Bosque interviewed residents and elected officials in these border counties, now among the most profiled and surveilled communities in America, who described how this two-fisted border security buildup has taken a toll on their civil liberties. In a separate analysis, Del Bosque joins with reporter G.W. Schulz to uncover how Texas's $15 million high-altitude spy planes have surveilled one border town at least 357 times and may have traveled multiple times into Mexican territory.