Close Up Topic: Firearms and the Second Amendment
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Suggested length: 45 minutes
In this conversation, you will be reacquainted with students from your paired classroom, and will draw on your discussions about political values as well as your reading and discussions about firearms and the second amendment to discuss policy issues relating to guns, gun ownership, and public safety. By practicing the conversation agreements and sticking to the three-round structure, you’ll learn more about how you and your peers think this important social and political issue.
Question Round 1: Reestablish connection
Suggested length: 10 minutes
Get reacquainted with students from your paired classroom. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
- If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal in?
- What hobby or activity would you try if money were no obstacle?
Question Round 2: Understanding our positions
Suggested length: 25 minutes
Share your views and values—and listen openly to the views and values of others—without debating or trying to change anyone's opinion. Each participant should answer each of the following questions:
- How prevalent is gun use in your community? For what purposes do people in your community use guns?
- What ideas and images come to mind for you when discussing gun control and the Second Amendment?
- Which political values are most relevant for you when thinking about and discussing gun-related policies?
- --> Equality
- --> Equity
- --> Liberty
- --> Security
- --> Public Good
- --> Private Interests
- What do you see as the most pressing issues related to guns and the second amendment? (guns in school, mass shootings, violent crimes, etc.)
- What policies that you discussed in class do you support? Oppose? See list below:
- --> Increase surveillance and security at schools and other soft targets
- --> Ban assault style weapons
- --> Make gun ownership illegal until the age of 21
- --> Allow trained adults in schools to carry weapons
- --> Strengthen policies to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill
- What other ideas for reducing gun violence do you know about? What is your opinion of those ideas?
- Can you identify a possible idea on which all participants agree?
Question Round 3: Reflect and share takeaways
Suggested length: 10 minutes
Reflect on -- and share with other participants -- how it felt to join a Mismatch conversation. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most valuable to you in this conversation.
- What new learning or appreciation do you have after joining this conversation?
- Have you found common ground that surprised you?
- What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
Before starting a conversation, all participants must agree to these conversation agreements.
1. Be Curious and Open to Learning.
Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.
2. Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences.
In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on some beliefs and opinions.
3. Be Purposeful and to the Point.
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are making the same point more than once.
4. Show Respect and Suspend Judgment
Human beings tend to judge one another, do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.
5. Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others.
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be considerate to others who are doing the same.
6. Own and Guide the Conversation.
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what’s happening and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.