“Gun Wars,” an investigation of gun rights and regulations in America, is the 2014 project of the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a national multimedia, investigative reporting project produced by the nation’s top journalism students and graduates. Each year, students selected into the program report in depth on a topic of national importance.
This year, 29 journalism students from 16 universities traveled to more than 28 states to examine the political and cultural divide between those who say the right to own and carry guns is guaranteed by the Second Amendment and those who believe firearms should be more regulated. As a result, this project showcases the voices of longtime politicians, shooting victims, militia members, rural sheriffs, hunting enthusiasts, inner-city mothers and advocacy groups on all sides of the debate.
The fellows conducted hundreds of interviews, reviewed thousands of pages of state statutes and other records and assembled nine databases that included a comprehensive analysis of child and youth gun deaths and domestic violence homicides by firearms. They also produced more photos and videos than any previous News21 project.
The student work began in January 2014 with a video-conferenced seminar that included reporting and research. In May, they began the 10-week investigative reporting fellowship based out of a newsroom at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University’s downtown Phoenix campus. News21 is supported by grants from the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as well as The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Peter Kiewit Foundation of Omaha, Nebraska., and Women & Philanthropy, part of ASU’s Foundation for a New American University.