July 16, 2013
“The Gun Debate: Stopping the Violence” - PBS NEWSHOUR series airs July 22 – 24, 2013
Mass shootings in Aurora, CO, Newtown, CT and Tucson, AZ have prompted a debate about ways to prevent gun violence. That’s the subject for three stories on PBS NEWSHOUR and additional material online next week as part of our on-going reporting on The Gun Debate.
On the broadcast, we highlight three successful initiatives in California:
Monday, July 22 SUMMER NIGHT LIGHTS – Los Angeles locals used to call the period between July 4th and Labor Day “the killing season,” because gang violence spiked on hot summer nights. Now those two months host “Summer Night Lights” – a series of after-hours events in 32 public parks, all in areas plagued by violent, gang-related crime. Ray Suarez has the story of festival-like activities that provide jobs for at-risk youth and foster a sense of community among the young, the old, rival gangs and local law enforcement. As Suarez reports, it’s working. Since its launch in 2008, gang-related homicides are down 47%. The report is funded by The California Wellness Foundation.
Tuesday, July 23 RECLAIMING GUNS – The mass killings have renewed interest in efforts to get guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and convicted felons. Background checks may prevent future gun purchases, but only one state confiscates legally purchased guns from those who later are barred from owning them. California sends agents door-to-door to collect the weapons. NewsHour Correspondent Spencer Michels looks at the mixed response to the state’s “armed prohibited persons system” from gun rights advocates and others.
Wednesday, July 24 PRISON PEACEMAKERS – San Quentin is a tough place to do hard time. Even so, many prisoners are repeat offenders. A new program called “GRIP – Guiding Rage into Power” aims to reduce recidivism by helping inmates address the root causes of their violent behavior and become peacemakers who are committed to non-violence. Special Correspondent Kathryn Olson goes inside the prison to hear first-hand accounts. A version of her story aired on the PBS program "Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly."
PLUS Online, PBS NEWSHOUR examines the sometimes illegal and often unethical practice known as “straw purchase.” That’s when one individual knowingly buys a firearm for someone who is prohibited from legally obtaining a gun. Our story looks at the transactions and what can be done to prevent them.
Thursday July 25 Join the discussion on efforts to stem gun violence via a Twitter LiveChat - Thursday July 25 from 1 to 2 pm EST. Follow @NewsHour and use #NewsHourChats.
About The California Wellness Foundation
The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.
About PBS NEWSHOUR
PBS NewsHour is seen by over five million weekly viewers and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced in association with WETA Washington, D.C., and WNET in New York. Major funding for the PBS NewsHour is provided by BAE Systems and BNSF Railway with additional support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
Contact: Anne Bell 703-998-2175.