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The Firearms Debate: From a Good Guy with a Gun to Firearm Bans
The Firearms Debate: From a Good Guy with a Gun to Firearm Bans

The Firearms Debate: From a Good Guy with a Gun to Firearm Bans

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Time & Location

Jan 16, 2024, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST


About the event

Why is this important: With school and workplace shootings on the rise and recent changes in registration requirements for short-barreled rifles and “bump stocks,” the conversation continues to rage around individual freedoms and state and national laws related to access to certain types of weapons, concealed carry permits, capacity limits in magazines and access to weapons on campus. Finding a middle ground or reasonable compromise has remained elusive and temperatures continue to rise between both sides.

Program overview: This program will draw from the book, How to Engage in Difficult Conversations on Identity, Race, and Politics in Higher Education, to better prepare faculty, staff, administrators and human resource professionals to engage in these difficult conversations. The presenters will review foundational conversations in the arguments using violence, inclusivity, and personal freedom as general categories. Specific discussions will include firearms as a deterrent to violence (e.g., good guy with a gun), national gun registration, gun regulations, lethal means restrictions and red flag laws, hunting, recreation and sport. Information will be shared about gun laws and the second amendment, firearms ownership, death rates from firearms, and a review of key terms and language important to frame the debate. Special attention will be paid to the importance of approaching this issue in a trauma informed manner that considers participants past experience with gun violence, civil communication, transparency in discussion, peer support and identifying opportunities for collaboration in group exercises and discussions.

Group exercises, case examples and sample discussion questions will be provided to further the conversation. Handouts on topics like responding to insults and defining emotional intelligence are also provided. A script to address workplace conversations regarding firearms and the gun debate will be included, as will sample case study, interactive activity, and sample exploration questions.

CASE: Your younger brother is helping organize a walk-out at his high school related to gun violence in schools. The principal of the high school has indicated students who walk out during class sessions will be suspended. Your brother is very passionate about this issue because a friend of his in another town was injured in a school shooting. He mentioned his plans to you and wants your opinion. What is your opinion, in general, about what he is planning and the school’s response?

ACTIVITY: Learners are asked to consider their personal histories, backgrounds, and experiences, including education, family, religion, culture, and work. They should identify five contributing factors related to their current perspectives on firearms and the Second Amendment. For each of the five factors, they should select one visual artifact (pictures, drawings, etc.) to share with the group along with a brief written description or reflection (2-3 sentences) explaining the factor in connection with current perspectives. Artifacts can be gathered and presented via a slideshow by learners.

What do you think the relationship between gun ownership and school violence is? What other contributing factors are there besides access to guns? How do you think walkouts and protests related to school and workplace shootings can benefit or harm efforts related to violence prevention? Discuss the intersections of First Amendment and Second Amendment rights in this case.

EXPLORIATION: Have you ever bought a firearm or been present during a firearm purchase? What do you remember about what was required and what occurred? How does that align with the firearm sale laws for your state?

Participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of civility in our conversations and learn ways to establish this through preparedness and planning prior to an event or debate.
  • Be able to identify core elements of the gun debate, what terminology should be used and how to prepare for a trauma-informed, civil discussion.
  • Review the importance of avoiding shame, blame, forced change, demanded acceptance, or agreement when approaching a discussion on firearms where both sides have passionate viewpoints.
  • Address workplace and classroom discussions on these topics that occur at inappropriate times and cause community disruptions.

Program includes:

  • Online access to the live 90-minute program.
  • A recorded version* of the program on along with test questions and a compliance report for the administrator of a department, college, or university.
  • Three interactive sample exercises to encourage discussion of firearms ownership and impact.
  • A handout on recommended terms and less neutral terms to frame the debate.
  • A detailed handout exploring the concepts of trigger warnings and how to have a trauma informed discussion.
  • A workplace specific handout on the common challenges faced when these conversations occur and disrupt the workplace community.
  • Discussion questions for group discussion to continue after the live program.

* Access for one year after the date of the live program. Additional year(s) access available for 20% purchase price.


  • Individual

    For group pricing or to purchase the full series, contact

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