Last night (on January 14, 2016) VICE News hosted an online forum on Skype in lieu of recent legislation passed via an executive order from President Barack Obama. According to CNN regarding the substance of the executive order: “In addition to expanding and bolstering the background check system to cover sales that take place online and at gun shows, Obama said the administration will provide more funding for mental health treatment, FBI staff and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agents.”

Vice News & The Quest for a Civil Gun Control Discussion

VICE News did a marvelous job of focusing the discussion on some key topics, but the discussion, as could be expected, struggled to maintain civility and coherency due to the volatility and turbulent nature of the grander topic. The discussion began with an introduction to the keynote persons of interest and with a simple question:

VICE News Gun Control Discussion - AZ Guns

As could be expected, this question was met with an extreme variance of answers. My answer was “Polarized.” The ensuing discussion here was civil, but the list of additional questions arisen by VICE News prompted some clashing among the polarized contributors:

  1. The right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States. Why is this right so important to Americans?
  2. Speaking of the Constitution… is the Second Amendment still relevant in 2016? Why, or why not?
  3. Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook Elementary, San Bernadino… more mass shootings occur in the United States than in any other country. Why? How do mass shootings differ from other types of gun violence, such as suicides?
  4. Have Americans just become numb to shootings and gun deaths?
  5. So.. do you think we would we be safer if everyone was armed? How often are guns actually used for self-defense?
  6. Would stricter gun control laws actually result in fewer guns? And, would fewer guns result in less violence?
  7. Haha okay guys.. So, who shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun? Anyone?
  8. Are President Obama’s recent set of executive actions to bypass Congress on the gun control debate an overstep of his authority? Or are his proposed measures just too little, too late?
  9. Okay.. So, what do you think is the most important step towards preventing shooting deaths? Tighter background checks, bans on assault weapons, buyback schemes, or some other strategy?
  10. We touched on this earlier.. but how do you think the evolution of firearm technology (3D-printed weapons, fingerprint trigger recognition, etc) impacts our relationship with guns?
  11. Okay guys.. Now, what about some other steps we can take in addition to regulating firearms, like expanding funding for mental health services?
  12. To wrap things up, what’s the best case scenario? What can we learn from other countries?

Please answer any of the aforementioned questions in the comments below. We’re stoked to hear your answers!

Read the entire transcript of the discussion here.