Possible Discussion Questions for Political Groups:
- Did you grow up with guns in your household? How do you think that shaped your outlook on them now?
- Do you own guns now? If so, why did you decide to purchase one?
- The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” What do you think about the ways in which that statement has created the gun culture we have today?
- Do you believe that the context in which the amendment was written in 1789 is important? Do you think an amendment like that should still apply in the context we live in now? How have things changed during that time?
- There are over 30,000 gun deaths in the United States every year. What, in your view, do you see as a potential solution to reduce that number?
- What is your view of the National Rifle Association? Do you think that their impact on our policymakers is helpful or hurtful to our country?
- What is your view of the group Moms Demand Action? Do you think that their impact on our policymakers is helpful or hurtful to our country?
- Take a moment to read this piece by Justin McFarlin, a Black army combat veteran. To what extent does race impact someone’s ability to openly carry a gun safely? What could be done to change it?
Local and National Organizations:
- March For Our Lives
- Never Again MSD
- Moms Demand Action
- Students Demand Action
- Brady United
- Representative Jennifer Longdon, Arizona House District 24
- Representative Daniel Hernandez, Arizona House District 2
- Honorable Ron Barber, former Rep- AZ-02
- Pat Maisch, survivor of Tucson shooting, Moms Demand Action activist
- Pam Simon, survivor of Tucson shooting, Moms Demand Action activist
Key Facts About the Issue:
- Deaths from Gun Violence: How the U.S. Compares with the Rest of the World
- Gun Statistics Explained with Graphs
- America’s Gun Culture Explained with Graphs
- Mass Shootings since Sandy Hook
- How U.S. Gun Control Compares to the Rest of the World – See exercise below.
Exercise #1: As an exercise, compare U.S. gun regulations to gun regulations in other developed countries. Click on links to read about gun-control laws in detail.
- Germany: To buy a gun, anyone under the age of 25 has to pass a psychiatric evaluation. The Weapons Act bans fully automated firearms.
- Finland: Handgun license applicants are allowed to purchase firearms only if they can prove they are active members of regulated shooting clubs. Before they can get a gun, applicants must pass an aptitude test, submit to a police interview and show they have a proper gun storage unit.
- Italy: To secure a gun permit, one must establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm and pass a background check considering both criminal and mental health records.
- France: Firearms applicants must have no criminal record and pass a background check that considers the reason for the gun purchase and evaluates the criminal, mental and health records of the applicant.
- United Kingdom and Japan: Handguns are illegal for private citizens.
Exercise #2: As an exercise, compare the responses from other government’s following mass shootings in their countries.
Port Arthur Massacre, Australia 1996, and their Government’s Response:
On April 28-29, 1996, there was a mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia. The shooting left 35 people dead, and 18 people wounded. Twelve days after the massacre, the Australian prime minister, John Howard, announced a sweeping package of gun reforms in a country where firearms had long been considered an essential prop in the national mythology of life in the bush. Less than a month, later, federal and state legislators crafted the National Firearms Agreement. It created extensive licensing and registration procedures, which included a 28-day waiting period for gun sales. In addition, it banned all fully automatic or semiautomatic weapons, except when potential buyers could provide a valid reason—which did not include self-defense—for owning such a firearm. The federal government also instituted a gun-buyback program, which resulted in the surrender of some 700,000 firearms.
Christchurch Massacre, New Zealand 2019, and their Government’s Response:
On March 25, 2019, Brenton Tarrant, a white supremacist, killed 51 worshippers and injured dozens other at two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques. Within a month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded by banning semi-automatic weapons and implementing a buyback program for gun owners. In the aftermath of the shooting, New Zealand’s parliament voted 119-1 to pass a bill banning most semi-automatic weapons, as well as parts that allow lower-powered firearms to be modified into higher-powered ones. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has garnered international recognition for her swift response to the shooting.