Resource for Civil Dialogue and Engagement
The shootings at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have once again put issues of gun violence on America’s front page. With the school’s students speaking out publicly and passionately to highlight what they consider lax gun laws, students throughout the country are planning protests and walkouts in response. We suspect many of your students are similarly concerned, given that it’s their generation that the school shootings have targeted. So we’re providing some nonpartisan resources aimed at furthering dialogue and offering context and history. We hope you’ll use or adapt these resources to foster discussion in classrooms, residence halls, and through public events, and to help your students think through the related issues so they can speak out as engaged and informed citizens.
The American Bar Association has created this extensive resource to teach the legal and historical issues involved. It includes specific questions for classroom or community dialogue around various issues related to gun regulation, gun rights, and gun violence.
Living Room Conversations promotes conversations between people of differing views. Here’s their dialogue template around appropriate gun laws.
The Christian Science Monitor offers a set of basic questions to ask in related discussions.
Pro-Con offers arguments from gun control and gun rights sides. The Trace may lean toward the gun control side, but it’s also a good source of accurate background data, as is the Gun Violence Archive. The American Library Association has nonpartisan suggestions for researching gun-related topics.
Open Secrets highlights which political leaders received the largest sums from groups opposing or supporting expanded gun laws. Here are officials who received support from the NRA and from the gun control group Americans for Responsible Solutions.
The National Coalition for Dialogue and Democracy offers a more in-depth perspective on how to host dialogues on the issue.
If students want to volunteer for tighter gun laws, they can get involved with groups like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, and the #NeverAgain campaign launched by the Dorothy Stoneman students.
Students can contact their state or federal legislators here.
We hope you find these resources useful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to CEEP.