The Second Amendment and the Gun Regulation Debate
Can stronger gun regulation curb mass shootings?
This question has given rise to an urgent debate that became increasingly divisive in the years after the Columbine High School shooting. This month, we observe the tragic 20-year anniversary of that event on April 20, 1999, in which two students walked onto the Columbine High School campus in Littleton, CO and fatally shot 12 students and one teacher. For many Americans, this violence was a call to action to implement greater safety measures around schools, and it also ignited the debate around gun regulation and the meaning of the Second Amendment.
Since Columbine, we have continued to witness the devastation of school violence, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, the latter of which surpassed Columbine as the deadliest high school shooting in American history. Gun regulation has always been part of the discussion around gun violence prevention; however, these campus tragedies combined with a wave of mass shootings in recent years have driven the gun regulation argument to new heights. At the heart of this debate is how much gun ownership and use should be regulated and what types of guns should be legal; and conducting this debate means deciding how best to interpret the Second Amendment.
This is an opportune time to engage your students critically with the issue of mass gun violence in the United States, the meaning of the Second Amendment, and the evolution of gun control. Students can use our Perspectives resources to explore the Second Amendment by following in the footsteps of noted Constitutional scholars within the context of modern debate. Use our Facts & Figures and Timeline on gun control and mass shootings to conduct classroom discussions about the connections between the Constitution and the national dialogue on gun regulation. Need more inspiration? Check out our Instruction for classroom-ready ideas to bring these issues to life.
"The Second Amendment and the Gun Regulation Debate." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2197809. Accessed 23 Aug. 2019.
Entry ID: 2197809