The Right to Bear Arms: Addressing Mass Shootings in Our Time

A Remington 20-gauge semi-automatic shotgun, a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a Colt .45 semi-auto handgun, a Walther PK380 semi-auto handgun and ammunition set against an American flag.

Dr. David Childs, D.D., Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Second Amendment- 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.

An NPR article from May 25, 2022 opens up stating “It’s 21 weeks into the year and America has already seen 213 mass shootings” (Here is a list of the shootings from 2022). This statement is indicative of the “culture of violence” that is very much a part of US culture. Indeed experts are pointing to a culture of violence that seems to define what it means to be America. A popular poem that has gained prominence on the Internet entitled America is a Gun exemplifies America’s seeming propensity for violence.


The Second Amendment is short on words but long on dispute.
Stockphoto.com

In light of mass shootings over the last few years, namely the tragic elementary school shootings of Sandy Hook in Newton, Connecticut and at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, as well as other recent mass shootings such as the racial motivated slaying in Buffalo, New York the debate about second amendment rights has resurfaced and been discussed vehemently. This brief article provides resources for classroom teachers to facilitate discussion with their middle and high school students about debates surrounding the second amendment.


Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

By Billy Calzada/APK

The Civics Renewal website has a wonderful lesson plan for social studies classrooms to discuss the second amendment in an article entitled Interactive Constitution: Second Amendment (High School). The site states that “This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 2nd Amendment by using the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution. Students will build understanding of the resources and methods used by justices on the Supreme Court and Constitutional scholars when analyzing and forming opinions about articles, sections, and clauses of the Constitution.”

Check out these other resources and lesson plans for teaching about the second amendment and gun control:

Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources

Interactive Constitution: Second Amendment (High School)
PBS Resources on the Second Amendment and Gun Control
Lesson Plan: Second Amendment Supreme Court Cases: DC v Heller and McDonald v Chicago
Middle Level Lesson Plan- Interactive Constitution (2nd Amendment-Right to Bear Arms).
Second Amendment | Civics 10
The Second Amendment: Why is it controversial?
Lesson Plan: 2nd Amendment
Second Amendment: Stifle the Rifle or Needed for Survival? – U.S. Constitution Series | Academy 4 Social Change
Discussing Controversial Topics: The Second Amendment
Guns and the Constitution: 3 Lessons for High School Students
The Second Amendment: Siege at Waco
Gun Control and the 2nd Amendment U.S. Government & Society

Other Resources
Gun Violence Archives
Mass Shootings of 2022
Recent Mass Shootings in the U.S.: A Timeline
After Parkland, States Pass 50 New Gun-Control Laws
Parkland Shooting: Where Gun Control and School Safety Stand Today
Spa shooting victims’ relatives, AAPI legislators renew gun control push

Discussion questions and activities for students and the general public
1. In what ways can we have discussions about gun control and the second amendment in a more bipartisan way?
2. Peruse some of the lesson plan links and other resources? What ideas and materials do you find most useful in your classroom?
3. People are passionate on both sides of the debate about gun control. Think about what side of the debate you fall on. Peruse the various resources and find lessons or materials that challenge your view. Based on this information, in what ways might you have a civil conversation about views in which you differ?

We are open to feedback and discussion. If you see any typos or grammatical errors please feel free to email the author and editor at the address below:

Dr. David Childs
childsd1@nku.edu 

10 Comments

  1. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the topic of gun control, with that being said, I don’t feel that gun control is the problem, it is the people, the human race. I feel that banning guns will create more of a problem than we already are facing. Without Guns to be able to protect our family and property if need be, then there will an even bigger rise in crime and violence. If banning guns is the answer, then the government may as well just go ahead and ban knifes and any other form of weapon that people choose to use. Because like I have always heard “where there’s a will there’s a way.” In bible times, Cain killed Abel with a rock, he didn’t need a gun.

  2. In my opinion, the discussions about gun control and the second amendment should focus solely on the consequences of the non-control and no-action on the destination of guns. A shooter may be conscious enough to exclusively kill black people but will not probably distinguish between democrats, independents and republicans. The shooter does not go around asking their victims if they are from one end of a particular political divide before mercilessly ending their life.
    I think all those topics are relevant to our course of putting an end to gun violence. However, as the debate ranges across America, I think it is important to revisit the knowledge and information on the Second Amendment and why it was enacted in the first place. I can guarantee that none of the active shooters took the time to ponder on the reason for the Second Amendment. It is imperative to hold discussions in different settings such as the home, church and other social gatherings about this topic especially with the younger generation.

  3. The Right to Bear Arms: Addressing Mass Shootings in Our Time.
    Second Amendment- 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.
    The term “militia” refers to the term of groups of men who banned together to protect their communities once the U.S declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. My first initial thought is that it is 2022 and Great Britain has not been a threat for a long time but on the other side I am very worried especially since I work in an Elementary and the images of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas have been very haunting. As the article states “It’s 21 weeks into the year and America has already seen 213 mass shootings”. Honestly, I cannot wrap my mind around 213 shooting this year alone and I question my decision ever time I go somewhere such as concerts or any gatherings because the number “213” shows clearly that we are no longer safe, and it is not because of Great Britain. I believe that stronger laws must be put in place, background checks should be more thorough and buying a gun should not be this easy. I can understand the argument that teachers need to be armed in order to protect the children but what would be the next step? How far are we willing to go to stop school shootings? More police officers in schools, fenced in school grounds, check-points? Eventually a school building will look like a prison, and I truly hope it will not come to this.

  4. With the recent school shooting at Robb Elementary, the discussion of gun control is in the forefront again. So far to date, there have been 246 mass shootings this year resulting in 294 deaths. I personally feel that it is every human’s right to bear arms if they desire. However, I also believe that it is not the gun itself that is the problem. If you lay a loaded gun on the table, it will continue to sit there. It is an object and has no life, no thoughts and no actions. When the gun becomes dangerous is dependent on who picks it up, their intention of use and acting on that intention. So, with that being said, I do feel that there does need to be gun control. I think that if laws were stricter on how we can obtain or buy guns, then there could possibly be a reduction in mass shootings. Then again, if there is a person that wants a gun, they will one way or another get one. It seems like there is a huge dichotomy here. It can be similar to the thought of it’s illegal to drive under the influence of substances, but just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen anymore. According to NHTSA, in the year 2020 there were 11,654 deaths secondary to drunk driving (This was the latest statistic I was able to find). So, if I held the same mindset, any time someone is killed by a drunk driver, all cars should be banned. There isn’t a simple cut and dry answer to this problem, yet I wish I had the answer.

  5. Whatever you may believe about gun laws, there is no debate that there has been a severe hike in mass shootings in recent years. As the article states, a “culture of violence” has been embedding itself into American society. This has led many people to form very strong opinions about gun control, the second amendment and what is to be considered constitutional. Regardless of personal beliefs, there have been over 200 mass shootings in 2022 and the number is continuing to grow. I personally find this extremely scary and the reason for big change. I remember being five when I learned about lockdowns at school. Later that year we were put into lockdown and I remember being terrified. As someone who plans to become an educator, I want mass shootings to be a thing of the past and gun violence to stop taking our children and adult citizens.

  6. With the recent school shooting at Robb Elementary, the discussion of gun control is in the forefront again. So far to date, there have been 246 mass shootings this year resulting in 294 deaths. I personally feel that it is every human’s right to bear arms if they desire. However, I also believe that it is not the gun itself that is the problem. If you lay a loaded gun on the table, it will continue to sit there. It is an object and has no life, no thoughts and no actions. When the gun becomes dangerous is dependent on who picks it up, their intention of use and acting on that intention. So, with that being said, I do feel that there does need to be gun control. I think that if laws were stricter on how we can obtain or buy guns, then there could possibly be a reduction in mass shootings. Then again, if there is a person that wants a gun, they will one way or another get one. It seems like there is a huge dichotomy here. It can be similar to the thought of it’s illegal to drive under the influence of substances, but just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen anymore. According to NHTSA, in the year 2020 there were 11,654 deaths secondary to drunk driving (This was the latest statistic I was able to find). So, if I held the same mindset, any time someone is killed by a drunk driver, all cars should be banned. There isn’t a simple cut and dry answer to this problem, yet I wish I had the answer.

  7. I think including unbiased statistics about gun violence in schools when teaching about the topic is incredibly important and relevant. Having a more informed public is something I think would really help bring our laws into the current century rather than sticking to ones that were made when things were incredibly different. We’ve clearly outgrown most of our laws and are overdue for an update. The unfortunate part of this is that many people’s opinions on gun laws are deeply intertwined with their political party. These people allow political divisions to cloud their judgment and often don’t do their own research and seek out credible sources. Education on this topic and topics like them in schools may help this issue.

  8. I feel that this topic is always difficult to talk about. I, myself, have not known anyone who experienced a school shooting or lost someone to a school shooting, but it is often talked about on the news. I feel that the younger generation should be taught how dangerous these kinds of weapons are so, in the future, these types of things can be avoided.

  9. This is a very difficult topic to discuss. It causes a lot of controversy between many different people in the country. I think it is good for students in high school to discuss in class the second amendment and become more informed on the topic. If a student seems depressed or is posting shady things online, these things should be immediately addressed and not overlooked. It is hard to decide whether guns should still be allowed to be bought or not. I can see it from both points of view. Although the problem is even if guns were banished, the shooters/killers would still find some way through the internet or illegally to obtain them.

  10. This seems more of a reference page than an article. Gun violence is on the rise without a doubt. Facts I were looking forwarded to view in this article are how the gunmen obtained their weapon, how old they were, how they were raised and their motives. If you unarmed the citizens, crime rates will increase drastically. That is “common sense”. As we all know Ukraine was invaded by Russia; after being invaded Ukraine scrambled to arm their citizens and anyone willing to fight. That is a good example of how armed citizens, in a worldwide viewpoint, are beneficial. We as Americans must find a way to stop the black-market sales on weapons, we must secure our school systems and do a more extensive background check upon an individual and their family members. The main thing we must do as Americans is care for our children and raise them with sympathy and empathy to help prevent tragic events.

Leave a Reply to Maddie Enginger Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


*