ATF Special Agent Charles Houser runs the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP
Document prep technician Carol Sine (left) and tracer Debra Barrett process firearm transaction documents at the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) processes firearm transaction documents from firearms dealers no longer in business, no matter the condition of the documents, such as this fire-and-water damaged ledger at their National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Opponents of expanding background checks for gun sales often raise the fear that it would allow the government to create a national gun registry — a database of gun transactions. In fact, federal law already bans the creation of such a registry. And the reality of how gun sales records are accessed turns out to be surprisingly low-tech.
Beth Lapides (with music director-producer Mitch Kaplan) is the founder and ringmaster at UnCabaret, a Los Angeles comedy institution that's marking its 25th anniversary this year.
Comedian and actress Margaret Cho is among the big-name performers who've taken a turn onstage at UnCabaret, where those who come to the stage are encouraged to try out material that might never make it on the comedy circuit or on TV.
A pilgrim walks the Way of St. James outside Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, on July 21, 2010. The ancient religious pilgrimage is also attracting the nonreligious these days.
Credit Eleanor Beardsley / NPR
"I always wanted to do this pilgrimage for the adventure and spiritual growth," says Pascal Begin, a 55-year-old French parish priest. "But whether you're religious or not, everyone is looking for simplicity and getting to know themselves and meeting others. It's just human."
Credit Xurxo Lobato / Cover/Getty Images
A pilgrim prays before a crucifix in Somport, France, along the Way of St. James. Last year, nearly 200,000 pilgrims walked the journey.
A 1,200-year old European pilgrimage route is experiencing a revival. Last year alone, some 200,000 followed in the footsteps of their medieval forebears on the Way of St. James, making their way some 750 miles from Paris across France to the Spanish coastal city of Santiago de Compostela, and the relics of the eponymous apostle.
A woman carries her child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on Monday A tornado as much as a mile wide with winds up to 200 mph roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.
A massive tornado ripped through the southern suburbs of Oklahoma City, Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 people, according to the state medical examiner's office.
The death toll was expected to rise.
Helicopter images showed large tracts of Moore, Okla., completely leveled by what the National Weather Service says was at least an EF-4 tornado with winds in excess of 166 mph. The tornado stayed on the ground for 40 minutes and traveled 20 miles.