Guns In Georgia: Triggering Debate

Count down the homes on your block. If you live in the South, Pew Research says at least one in every three of them has a gun inside. GPB's On Second Thought takes you behind these doors to examine the many facets of gun ownership in Georgia. We also explore the toll of gun violence, and the challenges to preventing it.

Chris Ballard / GPB

We’ve been talking about guns in the South.  GPB’s Ryan McFadin visited a shooting range in Milledgeville Georgia to speak with law enforcement firearms instructor and gun hobbyist, Joe Grant. They talked about what it means to be a responsible gun enthusiast, and got in some target practice.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

You may have heard about the Iron Pipeline. It's an underground network used to ship guns from states like Georgia with relatively lax gun laws to other states with tighter regulations. Many of these weapons are purchased legally in the South, but some are stolen. An investigative report finds Atlanta has an alarming rate of guns stolen from cars.

Chris Ballard / GPB

Health economist Ted Miller says to understand the real cost of gun violence, you must factor in the value of human life. According to Miller, the monetary cost of gun violence in Georgia in 2012 was more than $9 billion. He breaks down the cost of shootings.

For Anthony Mackey, 29, guns were part of his upbringing in Albany, Georgia. As a teen, he joined a gang, and saw firsthand the incredible power of a gun. Mackey says being shot at was a turning point in his life.

Chris Ballard / GPB

The Peach State is a leading exporter of illegal firearms. That’s largely due to the I-95 corridor, where guns flow from Georgia to other parts of the country with stricter gun laws. This route’s nicknamed the Iron Pipeline. Many of the illegal weapons end up in New York City. We talk about this with BuzzFeed News National Editor Tina Susman and New York City’s Public Advocate, Tish James.

Chris Ballard / GPB

Georgia is no stranger to the tragedy of gun violence. On a November day in 2012, Atlanta native Jordan Davis was shot and killed at a Jacksonville, Florida gas station. The African-American teen was unarmed when a white man named Michael Dunn shot him. Dunn was reportedly angered by the music Davis and his friends were playing in their car. Michael Dunn drew a life sentence for that murder. During the trial, Dunn told the judge he may have saved someone's life by killing Jordan Davis.

Chris Ballard / GPB

Guns are more controversial in America than abortion, marijuana, and same-sex marriage. Many of the opinions surrounding guns come from what we hear and see through the media. And yet, our passions about weapons reflect deeper psychological values.

Chris Ballard / GPB

Amid the barrage of news stories about gun violence, there are the real people whose lives are torn apart by tragedy. Semaj Clark, 20, is one of them. Two years ago, he was paralyzed after being shot in Savannah. Now, he’s confined to a wheelchair. Before becoming a vocal anti-gun violence advocate, Semaj was involved in gang activity. He says the media have a certain responsibility when they cover shootings.

Emily Cureton / GPB News

Georgia’s hunting season for firearms opened October 21. GPB’s Emily Cureton joined a father and son hunting deer together opening weekend. She sends us this audio postcard from the woods of Monroe County.

A special hour about guns in the South: the people who own them, the emotions they stir, how they’re bought and sold, the total cost of gun violence, and the history of laws controlling who has access to them.

Mass Shootings And Gun Laws In Georgia: A Closer Look

Oct 25, 2017
Chris Ballard / GPB

There are many different definitions as to what constitutes a mass shooting. Depending on what definition you look at, there was anywhere from six to 383 mass shootings in 2016 in the United States.

Mother Jones, a nonprofit news magazine, found that six mass shootings occurred in the United States in 2016, none of which happened in Georgia. According to the FBI, there were 20 mass shootings in 2016, and according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive there were 383 – 17 of which occurred in Georgia.

Chris Ballard / GPB

Guns are a fixture in many Southern homes. Pew Research estimates at least one in three households keep a gun. We caught up with some gun owners around Georgia to ask why and when they’re armed.

“When I was a little girl, my father taught me how to shoot. And he felt we needed to know how to protect our family. I was eight years old when he first put a gun in my hand,” said CoCo from Atlanta.