Texts about gun violence and gun control

Speeches

Former US President Barack Obama made a speech about reducing gun violence in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The main topic that he focuses on is the importance of gun control regulations being passed by Congress.

In his later speech about common-sense gun reforms, Barack Obama emphasizes the urgency of limiting gun violence in the United States. He also intends to convince and pressure Congress – led by Republicans – to act upon new gun control measures. 

In 2015, Obama made a speech as a response to the shooting in Oregon. Among other topics, Obama talks about the absurdity of asking for fewer gun-control laws and more guns in America, which is already affected by waves of mass-shootings.

Articles and essays

Nancy Gibb's article "It's Only Me" was written in 2001 after a 15-years-old student shot a number of fellow students in his high school. The author's main purpose is to present the reasons why a child may come to act like that. The key message of the text is that parents should be more involved in their children's life and pay more attention to their gestures.

In Terry McCarthy's article “Warning”, the author tries to give a detailed account of a boy's life and the factors that pushed him to come up with and carry out his plan of shooting the other students at his school. McCarthy’s aim is to raise awareness about troubled children and make adults understand that such shootings are never unexpected.

In "Why I Picked Up a Gun", Tiffany Hyatt describes her own traumatic experience with guns and is a strong advocate for women using guns for self-defense. Hyatt presents her personal story and why she believes women should carry handguns for protection.

In "Let's be Honest, Gun Control Opponents", Nick Laure argues that the arguments of gun control activists are illogical and flawed. For example. Laure draws attention to the idea that, without proper gun control regulations, society might transform and become more dangerous. 

David Joy's essay "Digging in the Trash" explores the theme of violence as a consequence of poverty. The first reference to violence in the essay is the story about the grandfather’s wife shooting her husband during an argument. Joy also explores violence as a defense mechanism.

Short stories

"Self Defense" by Samuel Wilkes presents the story of two escaped prisoners who illegally own guns and break into an elderly man's house to try to rob him. The elderly man shoots one of them in an act of self defense. The story also draws readers’ attention to how difficult it is to make a positive change in one’s life, especially when trying to leave a troubled past behind.

Other texts

Below are further suggestions for texts and movies that may be relevant when working with gun violence and gun laws in the US. We do not currently have study guides for these titles, but maybe you can be inspired to look for some of them yourself.

  • Boyle, T.C. - The Harder They Come (2015 novel)
  • Capote, Truman - In Cold Blood (1966 novel)
  • Crook, Elizabeth - Monday, Monday (2014 novel)
  • Giffords, Gabrielle & Kelly, Mark - A Story of Courage, Love, and Resilience (2011 memoir)
  • Klebold, Sue - A Mother's Reckoning. Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy (2016 memoir)
  • Ku, Shawn - Beautiful Boy (2010 movie)
  • Moore, Michael - Bowling for Columbine (2002 documentary)
  • Winkler, Adam - Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America (2011 book)