James Yates (left) and William Smith Jr. walk to the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., on Aug. 13 hoping to get a marriage license. They were turned away for a third time Thursday morning. Timothy D. Easley/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Timothy D. Easley/AP

Last October, a 15-year-old student and member of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington opened fire at his high school with a gun obtained from his father. The tribe had issued a restraining order against the father, but that information didn't show up in the federal criminal database — so he was able to buy the gun. Ted S. Warren/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Ted S. Warren/AP

Judi and Wayne Richardson, who lost their daughter Darien to gun violence in 2010, filed an application for a referendum on background checks Monday. Richardson Family hide caption

itoggle caption Richardson Family

Nicklas Trujeque in his solitary confinement cell in New Mexico State Penitentiary. Inmates spend 23 hours a day in these cells, with a one-hour period in an open cell outside. According to the New Mexico ACLU, until recent state reforms, the average length of stay for an inmate here was around three years. Natasha Haverty/For NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Natasha Haverty/For NPR

A part of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is shown in 2008. The penitentiary opened in 1829, closed in 1971, and then historic preservationists reopened it to the public for tours in 1994. Matt Rourke/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Matt Rourke/AP