Politico Capitol Hill Bureau Chief John Bresnahan discusses Congressional gun control efforts following the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1st, many members of Congress and gun control activists called for new firearms legislation to attempt to prevent further incidents. The response to the mass shooting has highlighted the greater debate over the proper balance on gun control restrictions and the second amendment right to bear arms. In this lesson, students will learn about the latest proposed gun control legislation, the stances of members of Congress, activists, and the NRA on gun control and rights, as well as determining the most effective response following the mass shooting.
As a class, view the following video clip and then discuss the questions below.
Video Clip: Firearms Legislation in Response to the Las Vegas Mass Shooting (6:13)
Describe the response by lawmakers following the Las Vegas Mass Shooting.
What type of gun control measures are Democratic lawmakers hoping to pass? What are the chances of anything getting passed according to John Bresnahan?
Describe the two bills that were being pushed by House Republicans regarding gun rights prior to the Las Vegas shooting?
Break students into groups and have each group view the following video clips. Students should take notes using the handout provided, and then share their findings with the rest of the class.
HANDOUT: Gun Control Handout (Google Doc)
FOR STRICTER GUN CONTROL LAWS
Video Clip: Senator Schumer (D-NY) on Gun Violence (3:12)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) discussed gun violence in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. He spoke about outlawing “bump stocks” and argued against making the purchase of silencers easier.
Video Clip: Senator Feinstein on Gun Control (1:29)
Senator Feinstein talked about gun rights and gun control on “Face the Nation.” Earlier in the week, more than 50 people were killed and nearly 500 injured in a Las Vegas mass shooting.
Video Clip: Senator Chris Murphy on Gun Control (1:33)
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) talked about gun rights on CNN’s State of the Union. Earlier in the week, more than 50 people were killed and nearly 500 injured in a Las Vegas mass shooting.
Video Clip: Former Representative Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly on Gun Violence (3:04)
At a press conference at the U.S. Capitol, former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband Mark Kelly spoke to reporters about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. They called on Congress to take action via legislation to address gun violence.
FOR GUN RIGHTS AND FEWER REGULATIONS
Video Clip: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise on Gun Rights (0:59)
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was seriously injured in a shooting at a June 2017 baseball practice game in Virginia. talked about gun rights on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Video Clip: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) on Gun Rights (1:10)
Rep. Lamer Smith (R-TX) discussed gun rights and what can be done to combat gun violence following the Las Vegas mass shooting.
Video Clip: Speaker Paul Ryan on Gun Rights and Mental Illness (0:55)
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) discussed gun rights and the need to better treat mental illness in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting.
Video Clip: NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre on Gun Rights (1:31)
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre talked about gun rights on “Face the Nation.” Earlier in the week, more than 50 people were killed and nearly 500 injured in a Las Vegas mass shooting.
After watching the videos and reporting out to the class, have students create a list of laws regarding gun control, if any, they think should be enacted following Las Vegas. They should be sure to justify the new regulations or reasons for not creating any with specific citations from the videos and class discussion.
Then, split students into small groups in which each student discusses their ideas and justifications.
Finally, participate in a whole class discussion in which at least one member of each small group shares their group's findings.
EXTENSION AND CULMINATING ACTIVITIES
WRITE YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Have students further research the issue and write a letter to their member of Congress explaining their opinion on what should be done regarding gun control/rights following the Las Vegas shooting
SIMULATED CONGRESSIONAL HEARING
Have students participate in a simulated hearing in which some students are members of a committee considering new gun control laws, and others are experts on both sides of the issue.