A new report from the personal finance website Wallethub says states in the Mountain West are among the most reliant on the gun industry. With gun sales down under the Trump administration and a heightened focus on federal gun control regulations, could this reliance be an economic concern for the region’s bottom line?  

Amanda Peacher

This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people are expected at rallies for gun control across the country. And no one is speaking louder than those who inspired the rallies and who feel they have the most at stake: teens.

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of teens are expected to march on Washington D.C. and around the country, calling for gun control. The Mountain West News Bureau spoke with two students in Montana and Wyoming who do not plan to march, and are worried gun control reform could change their way of life.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Across the country students walked out of school Wednesday morning, including in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. In Colorado Springs, several hundred people surrounded Palmer High School for 17 minutes to honor the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting.

Walk the bustling halls of Aztec High School in northwest New Mexico and at first glance you might think nothing is wrong.

Banners promote the Aztec Tigers girls' softball schedule. Students roughhouse out on the basketball courts.

But talk to kids for just a few minutes and it's clear all of that is on the surface. They're hurting.

"I feel like my security has been taken away from me," says Sarah Gifford.

91.5 KRCC

Senate Republicans have passed a bill that would allow Coloradans who already have a handgun to conceal carry without a permit. It passed along party lines and will soon be debated in the Democratic-controlled House where it’s future is more uncertain.

In his first formal policy response to the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last month, President Trump is setting up a federal commission to explore school safety. He's also endorsing legislation to improve background checks, and urging states to pass laws temporarily keeping guns out of the hands of people judged to be dangerous to themselves or others.

A policy proposal unveiled Sunday evening has Trump renewing his support for arming teachers and other school employees on a volunteer basis. He stopped short of endorsing a higher age limit for would-be gun buyers.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC, Mountain West News Bureau

The national conversation we’re having on guns is particularly painful in Colorado, where Columbine and Aurora are still active wounds. And like the rest of the country, this Mountain West state is deeply divided over what measures to take.

An increasing number of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, want more gun regulation, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll that surveyed people in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting.

"The Second Amendment."

If you've lived in America, you've heard those words spoken with feeling.

The feeling may have been forceful, even vehement.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

The same words can be heard uttered in bitterness, as if in blame.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

What weapon did the gunman use in the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida?

If you said the AR-15, you'd be wrong. And we'll explain in a moment.

For more than a half-century, the AR-15 has been popular among gun owners, widely available in gun stores and, for many years, even appeared in the Sears catalog.

Yet over the past decade, the AR-15 and its offshoots have been used in many of the country's worst mass shootings. This has reignited the debate about their widespread availability.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods say they won't sell guns to customers under 21, and both are putting new restrictions on ammunition sales.

Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the largest sports retailers in the U.S., has announced it is immediately ending its sales of military-style semi-automatic rifles and is requiring all customers to be older than 21 to buy a firearm at its stores. Additionally, the company no longer will sell high-capacity magazines.

Colorado’s Capitol, like 28 other statehouses across the country, has security checkpoints at public entrances. There are metal detectors that visitors and lobbyists must pass through under the watchful eyes of State Patrol officers, who are there to protect everyone in the building and keep illegal guns and other weapons out. But for some, the security is too much.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office / Creative Commons

Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment is  calling for a repeal of the Dickey Amendment - the law that essentially limits federal funding for gun violence research. Mountain west states have some of the highest rates of gun-related deaths in the country.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

The recent events in Las Vegas have many people wondering what they can do to help address gun violence in this country. For some, it means calling their congressperson or signing petitions. For one man in Colorado Springs, it means offering people a symbolic way to dispose of their firearms. His organization, founded in 2013, is called RAWtools, and it takes unwanted guns and turns them into gardening tools.

There's sort of a designated driver in Jason Stavely's circle of Iraq buddies, but he doesn't take away people's car keys. He takes the guns.

"Come toward September-October, if I get the feeling, I'm more than happy to give my guns back to my buddy again," said Stavely.

Stavely has bad memories from the war that get triggered every autumn. And last year, one of his Marine Corps friends died by suicide in October. So Stavely's therapist at the Veterans Affairs clinic suggested getting his guns out of the house.

More Gun Training in Schools Advances

Jan 26, 2017

A measure that would encourage schools to offer  additional training for security guards, and pave the way for more teachers to have guns in schools cleared its first committee on Jan. 24.

Associated Press

Flags are flying at half-mast throughout Colorado in honor of the victims of the shootings in Orlando, Florida over the weekend, where dozens were killed and dozens more wounded. The shootings took place at The Pulse, a gay nightclub.

On this episode of The Big Something: local comic book artist Langdon Foss discusses his recent 4-short comic The Surface; retired Navy seal and author of the book Navy Seal Shooting, Chris Sajnog, discusses his thoughts on what it means to be a responsible gun owner; Big Something intern Charlie Neaves tells the story of Mission Wolf, an off-the-grid wolf sanctuary in the mountains west of Pueblo; and Jake Brownell sits down with KRCC Music Director Vicky Gregor to look back at the life and work of the late David Bowie. All that today on The Big Something.

Saying that America faces a "gun violence epidemic," President Obama is taking "a series of common-sense executive actions" to reduce gun violence Tuesday, the White House says. First among the measures: tighter rules on background checks for gun buyers.


The gun debate that riveted the state capitol last session once again took center stage yesterday. As Bente Birkeland reports, emotions were strong, but compared to last year, fewer people came to the capitol to testify on a key gun bill.

Republicans have vowed to repeal a package of gun control proposals that the Democrats passed. The first bill in their sights? The bill that brought universal background checks and fees for gun purchases to Colorado.


After dominating last year’s legislative session, state lawmakers are once again beginning to debate the issue of guns. Republicans are taking the lead this time around, trying to repeal many Democratic bills including stepped up background checks.

The background check law was part of a larger package of gun control bills Democrats passed in the wake of the Aurora Theater shooting and shooting in Newtown Connecticut. Republicans say Democrats overreached.  


State lawmakers are once again heading into a legislative session following a school shooting. Colorado passed controversial gun laws earlier this year in the wake of the Aurora theatre shooting and the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Bente Birkeland takes a look back at the gun legislation and talks to lawmakers who are taking stock of things.


Democratic state lawmakers say a new law requiring universal background checks for gun purchases is working well. Data from the Department of Public Safety shows 2% of private gun sales were blocked because of the law.

Seventy-two sales were stopped because the would-be buyer was convicted or charged with a serious crime; such as murder, sexual assault, possession of dangerous drugs and theft. 


Colorado senate Democrats blasted gun rights groups today for trying to recall another state lawmaker. Two Democrats were ousted in September over support for stricter gun laws. The latest campaign targets Westminster Democrat Evie Hudak.

Magazine Law Injunction Declared Unneeded

Jul 11, 2013

A group of sheriffs aiming to overturn new gun laws are happy with language they say clears up confusion. Yesterday, attorneys for the two sides came to an agreement on the measure that limits magazine rounds to fifteen. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Judge to Consider Challenges to New Gun Laws

Jul 10, 2013

A lawsuit filed by more than 50 Colorado sheriffs challenging two new gun laws is scheduled to go in front of a judge today. The laws went into effect July 1st. Now, an attorney representing the sheriffs is asking for the parts of the law setting limits on gun magazines be put on hold. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.