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‘Flashpoint: Guns in America,’ an NBC News special report

/ Source: NBC News

As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, NBC News has launched "Flashpoint: Guns in America" -- a weeklong examination of gun violence, gun ownership and gun legislation.

NBC News journalists will report on guns on "NBC Nightly News," "TODAY," MSNBC, CNBC,, and more. The conversation will continue on social media platforms using the hashtag #GunsInUSA.

Complete “Flashpoint: Guns in America” coverage is available on at, including text and video stories and an interactive map of gun violence and its impact during a recent holiday weekend. looked at gun deaths across America on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, from 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 19, through 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 21, the day of President Obama's inauguration.

There is no central registry of gun deaths, so it's not possible to know of them all, particularly because suicides are so rarely reported in the press. (Gun suicides happen twice as often as gun homicides in America.)

We started our list of gun deaths with those , which a citizen started to compile news reports of gun deaths. Slate, the online news magazine, has been using that data to visually represent the number of gun deaths since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on Dec. 14.

We supplemented that initial list with our own research and with information gathered by reporters from the NBC Owned Television Stations.

Our reporters then reached out to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors involved in each incident, as well as relatives, loved ones and witnesses, to obtain details of the cases and where possible to gather information on the type of weapon involved, whether a suspect was arrested, whether the victim was known to the shooter, and any other relevant information.