The battle over gun control can be boiled down to a tug-of-war between maintaining our rights and ensuring our safety. Specifically, the issue is about the balance between Americans' constitutional right to bear arms -- as spelled out in the Second Amendment -- and the desire that almost all of us share to live safely without the threat of being harmed by gun violence. The U.S. has the highest gun ownership rate in the world, and the most gun-related deaths of any industrialized country. It also has some of the loosest gun control laws.
A mass shooting in December 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut resulted in the deaths of 27 people, including 20 children. The tragedy helped revive demand for tighter gun control laws, to which President Obama responded by promising action, and a number of lawmakers got to work crafting a set of measures to address the issue. But groups like the National Rifle Association staunchly opposed any new kind of gun regulations, and the legislative effort to enact background checks and other moderate new measures was narrowly defeated in the Senate this spring. At present, the issue is on hold, but the problem gun violence in America has certainly not gone away, and efforts at reform will likely resurface soon. - (From the introduction to KQED's The Lowdown resources around gun control.)
Use these resources about gun violence in your high school government and English language arts classrooms to support the use of informational text and argumentative writing as defined in the Common Core State Standards, and the study of the Bill of Rights and the division of power between the federal governments and individual states. Begin with this lesson plan for ideas on using the resources that are part of the first collection of resources below from KQED's news education blog, The Lowdown.
1. Gun Violence
Grade: 9-12 |Social Studies & English Language Arts | Interactive Maps, Timelines, Multimedia Visualizations, Videos
Topics include America’s Mass Shooting Dilemma, U.S. Gun Homicides: Visualizing the Numbers, Are States With Tough Gun Laws Actually Safer?, The Loose Laws and Loopholes of Federal Gun Regulations, Gun Control in America: The History, The Issues, and One Controversial Cartoon, The Geography of U.S. Gun Homicides, The United States of Firearms: America’s Love of the Gun, How Come No One’s Talking About Gun Control This Election?