A key goal of the Activist Lab is to identify opportunities to bring together stakeholders to consider, strategize, and address important public health issues. In this vein, the Gun Violence Collaborative has initiated two efforts to elevate conversation and thinking about gun violence prevention. Additional programmatic work will follow.
Beyond Rhetoric: Honest Discourse on Gun Policies in America
Approximately 30,000 gun deaths and 80,000 gun injuries occur annually in the United States. Public opinion polls reveal that the overwhelming majority of the public in the U.S. – including gun owners – support reasonable firearms restrictions. Why, then, does our national discourse about guns focus on the polarizing conversation of gun rights versus gun control? The Gun Violence Collaborative’s Beyond Rhetoric program seeks answers.
Despite the prevailing rhetoric, protection of gun rights and the passage of gun restrictions are not mutually exclusive goals. Beyond Rhetoric is a community-based intervention pilot program using civil discourse to understand both converging and diverging knowledge and attitudes that intersect issues of gun rights and gun control. Participants engage in moderated sessions to discuss the more nuanced aspects of guns in America, including guns in public places and background checks for gun purchases. The initiative explores ways for moving away from the current polarized public discussion to a discussion rooted in a goal of prevention of gun-related deaths and injuries.