FederalismDomestic Public PolicyCongressAmerican Government

Gun Violence and Public Policy

Posted on in Federalism · Domestic Public Policy · Congress · American Government

A school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 dead last week. As the United States grapples with the latest bought of gun violence, there is again a debate over how Congress and state legislatures should respond. 

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Gun Violence and Public Policy


On SAGE Insight: State Efforts to Keep Guns from High-Risk Persons

Social media paints picture of racist ‘professional school shooter’

Sessions orders review after FBI says it missed Parkland tip

Death From Gun Violence: How The U.S. Compares With The Rest Of The World

Trump’s new health chief backs CDC research on gun violence

Stop blaming the NRA for failed gun control efforts

Why Congress is hesitant to pass gun control, by the numbers

Advocates warn against linking mass shootings, mental illness after Trump tweet

Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Mass Shootings; Blame Men

Florida shooting: Gun control advocates rush to distort the truth about what happened in Parkland

U.S. Gun Laws: A History

Why Congress Has Done Nothing On Guns

Federal Gun Control Legislation


  • Writing: Why, despite consistent public support for greater gun control/safety legislation, does Congress refuse to act?
  • Debate:  Congress should initiate mandatory background checks for anyone attempting to purchase any type of firearm.
  • Poll:  Do you support a ban on firearms such as the AR-15?
  • Short Answer:  Does the 2nd Amendment leave any room for regulating firearms or is the possession of a firearm an ironclad right under the Constitution?

Current events quiz:

1) All Presidents who support significant gun control legislation are defeated for reelection. (T/F)

2) Congress banned certain types of weapons for 10 years beginning in 1994. (T/F)

3) President Barack Obama tried to get Congress to act on gun control and safety measures after the massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. (T/F)

4) The response by Republicans and Democrats after a gun massacre follows this type of script :

a. Both parties call for greater gun control and safety measures

b. Democrats call for greater gun control and safety measures while Republicans focus attention on the mental health of assailants

c. Republicans call for greater gun control and safety measures while Democrats focus attention on the mental health of assailants

d. Both parties avoid discussing gun control or gun safety measures

5) In 1994, President ___________signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

a. Ronald Reagan

b. Bill Clinton

c. George W. Bush

d. Barack Obama


1. False
2. True
3. True
4. B
5. B