Issue Guide from The National Issues Forum
Given the recent tragedies from gun violence, this deliberative guide is a valuable resource for groups, churches, or organizations looking to explore various approaches to preventing mass shootings.
When we talk to people on both sides of the gun debate, they talk about safety, what does it mean to feel safe in our communities?
Deliberative frameworks move participants away from soundbites into a values-based discussion considering the benefits & trade-offs of different approaches to find ways forward together.
Opportunities for further reflection:
What does it mean for you to feel safe in your community? How has that sense of safety been compromised by recent incidents?
How have you been affected, directly or indirectly, by gun violence?
What has been your personal experience with guns? What does responsible gun ownership look like for you?
What is the role of hatred and violence in our society? What do you wish we did differently?
Opportunities for further growth and action:
Take time to read through the issue guide above and to reflect on each approach. Look for areas of agreement and disagreement. What trade-offs are you willing to make to move in any of these directions?
If guns are unfamiliar to you, consider visiting a shooting range or attending a CWP class. Learn about gun safety laws in your area and what requirements are in place for concealed or open carry.
It can be tempting to examine this issue from a policy perspective and detach ourselves from the people-level of this issue. Take time to grieve the lives lost to gun violence. Write a eulogy or a prayer expressing your sadness, anger, despair, whatever emotions stir in you. Participate in a vigil or donate to survivor funds.
Additional Resources/ Suggested Reads:
If I Don't Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings by Amye Archer (Editor) and Loren Kleinman (Editor)
Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Church Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness by Jennifer Berry Hawes
Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence by Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin
What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey