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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "firearms" ...

  • 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.
  • RMPBS "Insight with John Ferrugia" - "Imminent Danger"

    This project examines the issue of killings by mentally ill persons with access to guns. The story is told through the eyes of a mother whose mentally ill son murdered a sheriff’s deputy and wounded four others, and of the Sheriff whose deputy died. Both agree the confrontation could have been avoided if only state law allowed earlier intervention when a mentally ill person with access to guns is spinning out of control. Both did everything possible to head off the crisis, but had no legal tools to prevent it. The project also includes an exclusive interview with the parents of Aurora Theater killer James Holmes who explain they simply did not recognize the warning signs that their son was mentally ill and capable of homicide. They hold themselves responsible for their son’s mass murder.
  • Kaiser Health News: Unlocked and Loaded: Families Confront Guns and Dementia

    In the U.S., where gun violence kills 96 people each day, there has been vigorous debate about how to stop the carnage, including ways to prevent people with mental illness from acquiring and owning firearms. But an unacknowledged and potentially far bigger problem is what to do about the vast cache of firearms in the homes of aging Americans with dementia. Our four-month investigation, produced in partnership with PBS Newshour, shed new light on an aspect of guns and public health that no one talks about, even though it may affect millions of Americans.
  • Investigating Gun Tracing

    Investigative Units from NBC Bay Area and NBC10 Philadelphia combined forces to uncover flaws in the way federal, state and local agents trace firearms through a technology meant to connect crimes through ballistics testing. While the technology is promising the team discovered, for the first time, that political infighting and sometimes simple bureaucratic inertia prevented the technology from even being consistently used, leaving some communities vulnerable to gun violence that could otherwise have been prevented.
  • Getting Guns Out of Dangerous Hands

    KING 5's reporting led to a new law in Washington state and a new task force targeting people who are prohibited from owning guns. The stories focused on gun laws that are supposed to keep firearms out of the hands of two classes of dangerous people: Those with criminal records, and those accused of domestic violence. Two separate series of investigative reports revealed that those laws were not enforced by the criminal justice system, and victims were paying for that with their lives.
  • AP: Cops Sell Guns

    After a year’s worth of work, the AP found that law enforcement agencies in Washington state sold about 6,000 guns that had been confiscated during criminal investigations, and more than a dozen of those firearms later became evidence in new investigations. The weapons were used to threaten people, seized at gang hangouts, discovered in drug houses, possessed illegally by convicted felons, found hidden in a stolen car, taken from a man who was suffering a mental health crisis and used by an Army veteran to commit suicide.
  • ADG: Violent Reality

    Since 1999, more than 8,000 Arkansans have died by gunfire — about half of them suicides. Although many law enforcement officials and legislators say that gun-control laws might work, they are unwilling to act. The stories explore the effect of specific laws on gun violence in other states, suicide-prevention advocates' work with gun sellers to keep weapons out of suicidal individuals' possession, and federal law enforcement's efforts to keep guns out of the hands of felons.