On this page you will find information about firearms, firearm vocabulary and public health resources to help in discussions related to gun violence.


Violence Policy Center’s Study on Gun Ownership, Gun Laws and Gun Deaths

State Firearm Death Rates Ranked by Rate: 2015
States with the Five Highest Gun Death Rates States with the Five Lowest Gun Death Rates
Rank State Household Gun Ownership Gun Death Rate per 100,000 Rank State Household Gun Ownership Gun Death Rate per 100,000
1 Alaska 56.4 percent 23.97 50 Massachusett 14.3 percent 3.13
2 Louisiana 49.0 percent 20.38 49 Hawaii 12.5 percent 3.84
3 Montana 67.5 percent 19.85 48 New York 22.2 percent 4.29
4 Alabama 49.5 percent 19.72 47 Rhode Island 15.9 percent 4.83
5 Mississippi 54.3 percent 19.68 46 Connecticut 22.2 percent 5.26

How Guns Work

From How Stuff Works—Science. (by Marshall Brain)

NRA Family: How Do Guns Work? Part 1

From NRA Family, by NRA Staff (January 10, 2017).

NRA Family: How Do Guns Work? Part 2

From NRA Family, by NRA Staff (January 17, 2017).


General information about firearms and how they work.

YouTube: Online Basic Handgun Course (33.59 min)

This video is the lecture component of the Online Handgun Safety Course of 11 Bravo Training. (published on April 27, 2013)

YouTube: Gun Basics (8:13 min)

Video describes basic gun parts, nomenclature and descriptions. (Smithjac USMC, April 24, 2009)

YouTube: How a firearm works—Animation (1911 semi-auto handgun; 1:46 min)

“A 2D Flash animation that I made in order to explain how firearms work to those who have no prior knowledge about them. The larger internal moving parts (barrel, recoil spring, firing pin) as well as the components of a cartridge (bullet, powder, primer) are shown in a semi-transparent cutaway view. I also included a voice-over to explain what is happening when the pistol is operated. The discharge of a cartridge as it is shown in the video applies to rifles and other firearms as well.” (Skallagrim, 2013)

YouTube: How A Semi-Automatic Handgun Works (5:25 min)

“A quick animation of how a semi-automatic handgun works from the first round to the last. The model in this video is based on the Springfield Armory XDM 45 Compact.” (45Snipers, 2015)

YouTube: How does a Machine Gun Work (10:27 min)

“This video is about how a machine gun, in particular, an AR15 M16 M4 full auto, select fire, carbine functions and the differences between it and a semi auto variant.” (modernpawn, 2014)

YouTube: Rules for Safe Firearm Handling – Handgun 101 with Top Shot Chris Cheng (2:26 min)

Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng shares four rules for safe firearm handling. (National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), published on Oct 15, 2014)

YouTube: The Basic Firearm Safety Rules – ASDI Firearms Training Series ep 1 (3:38 min)

Spencer Rands, the Armed Self Defense Institutes founding instructor, goes over the basic firearm safety rules. This is Episode 1 of the ASDI Firearms Training Series. (Armed Self Defense Institutes (ASDI), uploaded on March 18, 2011)

Video: Firearms Safety Depends on You (12:26 min)

Video by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Cracked: 5 Ridiculous Gun Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks to Movies)

The June 15, 2010 article from Cracked addresses movie myths associated with silencers, need to change magazines, bulletproof vests, hammer cocking, and explosive bullets. (by Robert Evans)


Wikipedia—Glossary of firearms terms

Glossary of Weapons Terminology

Glossary NRA-ILA


Public Health Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics:

CDC, Stats of the State of Colorado

CDC, Firearm Mortality by State

CDC, Suicide Mortality by State


“CDC’s WISQARS™ (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) is an interactive, online database that provides fatal and nonfatal injury, violent death, and cost of injury data from a variety of trusted sources. Researchers, the media, public health professionals, and the public can use WISQARS™ data to learn more about the public health and economic burden associated with unintentional and violence-related injury in the United States.”

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

CDPHE, Colorado Suicide Prevention Resource Center

CDPHE, Colorado Health and Environmental Data

CDPHE, Colorado Violent Death Reporting System (CoVDRS)

Using Information from the Colorado Violent Death Reporting System to Target Suicide Prevention Efforts (presentation, 2008) (pdf file)

Colorado Gun Shop Project (presentation, 2016) (pdf file)

Gun Violence Archive

“Gun Violence Archive (GVA) is a not for profit corporation formed in 2013 to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun-related violence in the United States. GVA will collect and check for accuracy, comprehensive information about gun-related violence in the U.S. and then post and disseminate it online.”

Violence Policy Center

“The Violence Policy Center (VPC) works to stop gun death and injury through research, education, advocacy, and collaboration. Founded in 1988 by Executive Director Josh Sugarmann, a native of Newtown, Connecticut, the VPC informs the public about the impact of gun violence on their daily lives, exposes the profit-driven marketing and lobbying activities of the firearms industry and gun lobby, offers unique technical expertise to policymakers, organizations, and advocates on the federal, state, and local levels, and works for policy changes that save lives.”

The Trace: 15 Statistics That Tell the Story of Gun Violence in 2015

Released on December 23, 2015, this article published by The Trace highlights trends and data from 2015. (by Jennifer Mascia)

Suicide Statistics

Data provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

National Suicide Statistics

Data provided by the American Association of Suicidology.



Wikipedia—Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban

“The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, often called “the Lautenberg Amendment” (“Gun Ban for Individuals Convicted of a Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence”, Pub.L. 104–208, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)), is an amendment to the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997, enacted by the 104th United States Congress in 1996, which bans access to firearms by people convicted of crimes of domestic violence. The act is often referred to as “the Lautenberg Amendment” after its sponsor, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D – NJ).”

DOJ: The Lautenberg Amendment

From the U.S. Department of Justice. “…full text of an announcement that was sent by the Criminal Division to the United States Attorneys’ Offices upon the passage of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(9) (the Lautenberg Amendment) in the fall of 1996. This provision amends the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 by banning the possession of firearms by individuals convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”

United States v. Castleman (pdf file)

The U.S. Supreme Court Opinion, 2014.

The Trace: Supreme Court Upholds Federal Gun Ban For ‘Reckless’ Acts of Domestic Violence

The Trace released this article on June 27, 2016. “The Supreme Court on Monday held that a federal gun ban applies to people convicted of using physical force against a domestic partner or family member, even if they didn’t intend to do harm.” (by Olivia Li)



Colorado Crisis Services

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Suicide Prevention

This webpage lists resources for suicide prevention.

Preventing Suicide, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Know the Warning Signs of Suicide, American Association of Suicidology

A Young Person is at Critical Risk of Suicide if He or She, American Association of Suicidology

Mental Health Colorado

NAMI Colorado

Colorado—American Foundation for Suicide Prevention