Gun control conversation questions
Up in arms
- In the USA alone, over 20,000 people a year are shot to death and countless are injured. What reaction does handgun violence cause in you? What if you were told that the large majority of those deaths were caused by criminal activity and not by registered gun owners? Would that change your opinion regarding gun violence?
- Have you ever handled a gun? Would you know how to load one? How to hold it correctly?
- Have you ever heard gunfire? Have you ever had a gun pointed at you? Have you ever been shot at? Do you know anyone who has been in that kind of situation?
- The right to bear arms is a much debated article in the US Constitution. When the Constitution was being drawn up, militias had been directly responsible for winning the War of Independence against the British. Do you think a new constitution would include such an article?
- How easy is it to buy a gun in your society? Could you go down to the local street market and get hold of one?
- Are there strict gun control laws in your country? How efficient do you think they are?
- Is there a difference between owning a handgun and owning any other kind of firearm?
- The National Rifle Association ran a campaign for many years based on the slogan that "guns don't kill people, it's people who kill people". What do you think of that argument?
- One argument used by the pro-gun lobby is that if guns are banned, people will still kill others with baseball bats, hammers, kitchen knives or any other implement. Do you agree with that hypothesis? Why/why not? Have you read in the news about any violent incidents involving knives, hammers, etc?
- Another argument goes that if handguns were banned, alcoholic drinks and automobiles should also be banned to prevent drunk-driver deaths. What is your opinion?
- Rather than banning guns outright, do you think better regulation would help reduce the number of gun-related deaths and injuries?
- Americans have consistently voted for responsible gun legislation but legislators' initiatives have equally consistently been overturned in the courts due to the power of lobbies. What do you think of this? Is the people's will inviolable to turn over a Constitutional amendment that easily or should there be in place a way of abolishing the amendment?
- Supporters of guns sometimes claim that if everybody were armed then there would be less crime. What do you think of this argument? In Switzerland, all males from age 16-60 are given weapons training and sent home with the military rifle and crime is relatively low. What do you think in this case?
- Chicago has very strict gun control laws and yet has a very high homicide rate from gunshots by gang members, i.e., illegal gun owners. Would banning guns from legal gun owners reduce this horrible violence?
- Chicago has strong gun laws (rated +40 by Brady campaign) and a gun homicide rate of 16 per 100k. New Orleans, LA has weak state gun laws (rated -27 by the Brady campaign) and the highest gun homicide rate in the United States at 47 per 100k. The only way to compare populations of different sizes is to compare per capita numbers.
- States with weak gun laws (as rated by the Brady campaign) have a guns-used-for-crimes export rate that is 4 times higher than states with strong gun laws.
- New York City has prohibited the sale of realistic-looking fake guns. What reasons can you think of for them to make this decision?
- Some people consider the possibility of having a fake gun at home, "just in case". What are the pros and cons of this?