The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America

We continue to examine the issue of Gun Violence during Lent. Join us for a viewing of Gun Chronicles: A story of America, a national collaboration with Time magazine and the artist JR to create honest dialogue in our country around the issue of gun violence. In all, JR filmed and photographed 245 people —hunters and activists, teachers and police officers, parents and children— to create this living mural which has been hosted in museums and other venues across the country since November. This interactive program is coming to Dayspring on Sunday, April 14. The installation will be displayed in the Fellowship Hall from 10:00-1:00. We invite you to come, experience over 200 views of Americans all around the issue of guns. Come listen, share and maybe even leave with new insights. Go to time.com/Guns-in-America for a preview or to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

How was the mural constructed?
JR already had the framework laid out in his head. Each subject was photographed and recorded individually and subsequently placed one by one into the mural. They were situated in a tableau that evokes not only the spirit of debate associated with the Founding Fathers but something else as well—the unity that flows from a sense of shared enterprise.

Was this staged?
Only the placement of the subjects are staged. Their actions are all true to how they represent their feelings about firearms.

How long did it take?
Over five months, JR and his team, along with a group of TIME journalists, traveled to three cities—St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; and Dallas—to film, photograph and record, one by one, people who represent the vast range of voices in our gun debate. The shoot itself took two weeks.*

Why were St.Louis, DC and Dallas chosen cities for the project?
They chose cities where all perspectives could be found: high rates of gun violence, gun culture and high rates of gun ownership.

How did they choose the mural subjects?
It was important to JR and TIME to ensure they had a balanced viewpoint, so they conducted research and reached out to individuals and groups with many different relationships to firearms. Every single person who responded to particpate ended up here in the mural.

How many people are in the mural?
The final result brought together 245 people from every imaginable vantage point: veterans and teachers, hunters and doctors, people afraid that guns may kill their children and people afraid they won’t have guns to protect their children. They include Lezley McSpadden, whose son Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson, Mo., which helped spark the Black Lives Matter movement; members of the trauma team that treated victims of the horrific 2016 sniper attack on Dallas police; House majority whip Steve Scalise, a gun-rights supporter who was critically injured in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice; and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at a 2011 constituent event. In the pages of this issue, and through an interactive audio and video experience, you can hear the stories of all of the 245 cover participants. In the coming months, the mural will travel to museums across the country, and you can also apply to host a projection of and discussion around the mural in your community.

Why did they do this?
Excerpt from the article: Why Time Made Guns In America
“Last May, when JR and I (editor in chief of TIME) first discussed his creating a cover for TIME, we immediately landed on guns. It was just a few months after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., which had prompted a painful and often vicious national debate over what is certainly a shared goal: preventing the senseless mass murder of children. What drew JR to the subject was that he knew little about it. “In France,” he says, “we don’t have any relationship with guns, and so I’m discovering the whole issue.” What drew me to this collaboration was the hope that his creativity and outsider’s perspective could help those of us in America think differently about this debate, and the many others where rage too often substitutes for discourse. In a week when explosives are being sent to major public figures and news organizations, the urgency could not be more clear.”

What is the goal of the project?
JR’s mural envisions the cover of TIME as a table, the kind of setting where we might actually listen to one another. The participants in this project “will always be part of the same mural even if they don’t share the same ideas,” says the artist. “I really hope they will actually listen to each other, and I hope that people will join this conversation.”