Gun Violence in America: Should People Have Guns?

American revolutionary soldiers sitting and chatting

Warmer questions

  1. What are the laws in your country to own a weapon?
  2. Would you like to have a weapon? What would you use it for?
  3. What dangers are there to having a weapon in the home?
  4. Should the police be armed?

Reading section

Do opinions change we time?

The topic of gun ownership and gun violence in America has been raging since the latest high school shooting in Florida this year. Many students were injured and more are still suffering from the psychological trauma associated with such life-changing events.

America, unlike other countries, has a written legal document called the United States Constitution which says what people can do in the country. Over the years there have been changes to this document to make it more up to date, called Amendments, and the Second Amendment says the following:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

In plain English, this means that a group of people with guns (Militia) needs to be kept in the country so they can protect their families, neighbours, community, and ultimately the country. At that time “free” meant that the nation wanted to be independent of Britain, and so, an army (of sorts) needed to be created so that its independence was not taken away.

While this makes sense, as the original change was made in 1791, life in America has since changed. It is quite possibly the freest country in the world where people of all colours and backgrounds can live as they please. This is obviously a simplification, but, the concept is still nevertheless true.

The US government spends approximately $800 billion each year on its military and as such has the mightiest force in the world. Its military is so powerful that the country has remained unchallenged since WWII.

So, questions to consider:

  1. Why does America need its citizens to carry guns when it has a military?
  2.  Do Americans now carry weapons to stop the British from invading?
  3. If innocent people are killed accidentally by guns should the Second Amendment be taken away?
  4. Do guns prevent the country from becoming a dictatorship?


Questions for the video.

Read the questions first and try to guess the answers and then watch the video.

  1. Between 2000-2014 how many shootings where there?
  2. Why do mass shootings get so much attention?
  3. Black women are often the victims of gun violence. Ture or false?
  4. Which country has the highest burglary rate per 100,000 people?
  5. Do you need a license in America to have a gun?
  6. Do you need to have safety training to have a gun in America?

  1. 133
  2. 2. …because they are often indiscriminate.
  3. False, it’s actually white men
  4. Netherlands
  5. No license is required
  6. No safety training is required


The pros of gun control

  1. Powerful weapons are not for self-defense but are used to commit serious crimes.
  2. Guns are often stolen and so they need to be regulated.
  3. The Second Amendment is not an unlimited license to own a weapon.
  4. Better gun laws will lower the number of people who are killed in random acts of violence.
  5. More often than not, guns are not used for self-defense.
  6. Military-grade weapons are not needed for hunting animals.

The cons of gun control

  1. Having a gun does not reduce crime or stop others from committing a crime.
  2. The Second Amendment already places limits on guns.
  3. Current efforts to control guns have been ineffective.
  4. Current laws on gun control are aimed at inner-city communities and target people on specific demographics.
  5. More education is needed instead of more laws on controlling weapons.
  6. Fewer laws are needed as only a small number of people are killed through gun violence.
  7. Background checks before purchase do not allow for personal privacy.

Potential gun violence debate topics

  1. The right to carry weapons should be a legal right.
  2. The need to defend a country from tyranny is the most important responsibility of its population.
  3. The weapons industry is preventing the criminalization of carrying a weapon. It is simply too profitable to make illegal.
  4. Mass shootings occur because the media glorify the shooters and perpetrators.
  5. Music videos and films often use stylised violence, hence the rise in mass shootings.

Final remarks

The topic of gun control has been a long debated one as it has deep roots in the foundation of the Republic of America. That said, it is likely steps will be implemented to change the law as the US is now transitioning from a frontier country to a more mature democracy. While this is an ongoing process, it may take another 100 years.

What do you think? Should people be allowed to carry guns? Let us know in the comments and let’s have a debate!