When it comes to protecting yourself, you may think “if I only had a gun.” But if you had a gun, could you protect yourself in a crisis? How easy is it to obtain a gun? And what explains the nearly irresistible attraction of young people to firearms? Diane Sawyer investigates, with reporting by David Muir, on “If I Only Had a Gun,” airing on “20/20,” FRIDAY, APRIL 10 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. The hour also features hidden camera experiments and expert analysis.
There are an estimated 250-300 million guns in civilian hands in this country – almost enough to arm every man, woman and child in America. In fact, Americans are believed to own a third of all the existing firearms in the world. And that number is quickly growing: Last year there were 12 million background checks of people buying guns or getting or renewing a permit. America also has the highest rate of gun violence in the industrial world. Reports include:
Why shouldn’t we all have guns? Almost half of all handgun owners say self defense is their primary reason for owning a gun. But can they get to their gun in time when in a crisis situation? Can they aim accurately? And what is the chance they will hit someone innocent instead of their target? “20/20” set up a hidden camera experiment to see what would happen if everyone, including those with gun training, had a gun when an armed intruder bursts through the door. Diane Sawyer reports.
How easy is it to buy a gun? In 33 states across the country, anyone can walk into one of the hundreds of gun shows held each year and buy a gun without a background check run and no questions asked. In the two years since Omar Samaha’s sister, Reema, was murdered at Virginia Tech, he has been fighting to close the gun show loophole, a step the Virginia governor and other authorities urged lawmakers to take. Has anything changed? David Muir follows Omar as he buys guns in Virginia at a gun show. How many can he procure in an hour and how many questions will he be asked?
The effect of gun violence on one neighborhood, as seen through the eyes of a child: Ten-year-old Damon Weaver is a pint-size reporter with a supersized dream: to interview President Obama about what he plans to do about the gun violence that has torn apart his town of Pahokee, Florida. In the last year, 14 people were murdered in his neighborhood. To see the devastating effects of gun violence in one community through the eyes of a child, Damon reports first-hand for “20/20,” interviewing friends who’ve lost family members, townspeople, as well as the sheriff’s office about problems and solutions. Diane Sawyer first met Weaver during the network’s Presidential Inauguration coverage in January.
What is the irresistible attraction of young people to guns? It is not uncommon to hear news reports about young people playing with their parent’s guns and accidentally shooting their friends, sometimes killing them. Statistics show that more 18-22 year olds die from accidental shootings than any other age group. Shouldn’t college aged kids know better than to play with a gun? “20/20” puts some of these kids to the test in a provocative experiment during which they find hidden guns while cleaning out a garage. Who will tell the adult about their find, who will pack it away without a word and who will play with the gun? And does peer pressure factor into unsafe behavior? Muir reports.