The Hilton Central School District is considering arming retired law enforcement officers to work security. It's a proposal that has caused debate among parents; some argue that bringing more guns in to schools is inherently unsafe, while others feel that trained former officers are capable of handling firearms in a secure manner.

We discuss the proposal with people on different sides of the issue. Our guests:

  • Casey Kosiorek, superintendent of the Hilton Central School District
  • Dave Inzana, director of safety and security for the Hilton Central School District
  • Stephanie Bedenbaugh, parent and leader with the Rochester chapter of Moms Demand Action
  • Kelly Lincoln, parent, member of Progressive Parents of Hilton, and licensed clinical social worker

Trauma care has improved tremendously, which means we're seeing fewer deaths from gunshot wounds. The roots of progress trace back to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004, and are now seen on the streets of Rochester. That means gun violence results in fewer deaths; it doesn't mean that guns are not a deadly problem. But the advances have produced remarkable and life-saving changes, and we examine how it has happened. Our guests:

One of the most controversial pieces of weaponry in the country is the AR-15. Democratic Senators are calling for the AR-15 to be banned; one Senator even said that people only buy the gun to do bad things. But it's a popular firearm, and a recent piece defending the AR-15 has gone viral. Published in both Medium and Vox, Jon Stokes explains why he and millions of Americans appreciate the AR-15, and why they want other Americans to better understand it.

Stokes is a former Wired editor and founder of Ars Technica. He joins us to answer listener questions about why he thinks the AR-15 is unfairly criticized and targeted. 

Throughout the last 40 years, gun possession in America has gradually declined, yet research shows gun sales have recently increased.

Dr. Robert Spitzer is a professor of political science at SUNY Cortland and a national expert on gun laws. He says this increase can be tied to politics: some Americans are buying guns to make a statement because they are afraid more regulations will be imposed.

How would regulations consistent with Second Amendment rights impact gun violence in America? Dr. Spitzer will be in Rochester on Thursday to lead a public discussion about that question, but first he joins us on Connections. Our panel discusses both sides of the issue. Our guests:

  • Dr. Robert Spitzer, distinguished service professor of political science at SUNY Cortland
  • Neil Jaschik, Rochester Coalition for Reasonable Gun Laws
  • Dave Jenkins, founder and primary instructor at Rochester Personal Defense LLC
  • Chris Nakis, gun owner

The New York Times reports that more women are buying guns than ever -- for a wide range of reasons. Women's participation in target shooting is up more than 50% in a decade. In hunting, it's up more than 40%. Advertisers are focusing on women, with an angle on self-protection.

We explore why more women are buying guns, and what it means. Our guests:

  • Dave Jenkins, Rochester Personal Defense, LLC
  • Wendy Saetta, lead instructor for the Women’s Training Team, Rochester Personal Defense, LLC
  • Darcie Murray, Women’s Training Team instructor, Rochester Personal Defense, LLC
  • Jordan Rapa, student, Rochester Personal Defense, LLC

Swap Guns For Toys

Dec 19, 2015

Would someone exchange a gun for toys? It's worth a try, according to Gary Mervis from Project Exile.

"This is a way to hopefully see if we can't take a few more guns so they don't get into the hands of criminals."

The exchange is made, with no questions asked.

Project Exile, which works to get illegal guns off our streets, is trying the new tactic. The toys are from the Pirate Toy Fund.

Scott Horsley, NPR

ALBANY (AP) New York's attorney general says 30 online retailers have agreed to stop selling realistic toy guns in New York.

The settlements announced Tuesday follow July letters to the retailers from across the U.S. who were selling the imitation weapons through an Amazon.com platform for third-party retailers.

RPD To Swap Guns for Wegmans Cards

Nov 6, 2015

It's been a while since the city tried a gun buyback. Rochester Police firearms trainer Officer Daniel Carlson says that ends Saturday.

"We have a fair amount of firearms crime in the city and our goal is to get some of those illegal handguns off the streets."

Police, with help from Wegmans, will collect unwanted, unused or even stolen guns: no questions asked. Carlson asks that you do it safely.

What if we looked at gun-related violence purely as a public health issue? That's what Harvard's David Hemenway did in his book Private Guns, Public Health. As best he could, Hemenway removed emotion from the arguments about firearms, and collected the best data available. In the wake of last week's mass shooting in Rochester, some of our listeners have asked questions about firearm statistics. Hemenway joins us for the hour to answer our questions.

Are New York gun owners ignoring some of the provisions of the SAFE Act? A new report from 13WHAM's Adam Chodak suggests that's a real possibility. He looked at high-capacity magazines, and tried to find out whether gun owners have disposed of them in a lawful fashion. The report raises questions about the effectiveness of the law, but gun control advocates argue that the SAFE Act is proving to be a success. Chodak is in studio with us to discuss his findings, we are also joined by gun advocate Ben Piatt.