August 11, 2015

LISTEN: What Young People Know About Guns

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Precious Lives is a two-year project investigating the problem of gun violence among young people, its causes, and potential solutions in the Milwaukee area and statewide. Learn more about the project.

Previous coverage

Bullets exacted terrible toll on children, African Americans A Center analysis found that African Americans were more than 30 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be murdered by guns in Wisconsin last year.

In this week’s episode of Precious Lives, a two-year project examining gun violence among young people in the Milwaukee area and statewide, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reporters Kate Golden and Sean Kirkby visit the Madison area’s Allied Drive Boys and Girls Club to ask children what they know about guns. The reporters found that nearly all of the young people they talked to had some level of experience with guns.

Many of the young people interviewed, who spanned ages 11 to 20, talked about how easy it is for guns to reach children’s hands and how prevalent they were in their communities. In the episode, Taquirria Smith, 12, recalls a time when her older cousin was playing with a gun.

“There was no bullets in it but she shot out air,” Smith said. “I wanted to play too but she ain’t let me.”

Access to guns led to the death of Eric Gutierrez, 11, in July 2014 when he and a friend took a gun into the woods. As his friends were playing with it, one of them pulled the trigger. The shooter was 14, and when police went to his house, they found about 20 accessible guns, including some in an unlocked safe in the teen’s bedroom.

Listen to the full episode above or on SoundCloud.

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