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The Right to Bear Arms - Tasks

Comprehension

  1. How would you translate the Second Amendment into Norwegian?
  2. Explain the difference between a militia and a standing army. What kind of army does the USA have today?
  3. Why is it important to understand the gun control debate in light of historical events?
  4. The discussion around private ownership of guns started in the 1960s. Give examples of events from this decade that fueled the debate. (The text mentions a couple of examples; try to find others)
  5. What are the names of the two main organizations working for and against gun control? Look for further information and write down at least 8 facts about each of the organizations.
  6. Three examples of shooting sprees are mentioned in the text. Find information about 3 similar incidents in the USA and write down a few facts about them. Is this a purely American problem?
  7. What does it mean that the USA is a federal republic, and why is this a problem when it comes to U.S. gun control legislation?
  8. What do you see as possible solutions to the gun problem in the USA? The following sites may help you on your way:

Gun Violence
Brady Campaign

Watch, Write and Discuss

Too often people in the USA are shot by accident or as a result of heated discussions. Some shootings are more tragic than others. Watch the video, Boy Shoots Mom In The Head before you solve the tasks below.

Discuss
Discuss in pairs: Are 12-year-olds criminals? With your partner, decide what punishments a 12-year-old should get for these crimes: murder, illegal downloads, stealing sweets, hacking, not paying bus fares, selling drugs.

Change partner, and exchange information. When you are finished share your information with the rest of the class.

Write
Choose one of the following tasks:

  1. You are a journalist working in the local paper. Write an article about the shooting incident.
  2. You are the policeman who arrived first at the scene. Write a report describing what you found and how you acted.
  3. You are the boy’s lawyer. At the end of the trial you hold a defense speech, trying to convince the court that the boy should receive a mild sentence. Write the speech.
  4. You are the boy and a few years have passed. You give an interview to the local newspaper, describing your life before the shooting incident, the incident itself and how life has been after the conviction. Write the interview.

Class Discussion

Using this video as a starting point, discuss the questions below.

  1. In your opinion, could the woman have acted differently?
  2. How do you think you would have reacted in a similar situation?
  3. How would you describe the reaction of the anchors at the end of the clip? How do you think a similar incident would have been treated in the Norwegian media?
  4. Do you think people have the right to shoot intruders in their home?
  5. In general, would it be safer for nobody to have a gun or for everybody to have one?
  6. What do you think can be done to reduce gun-related crimes?
  7. Gun ownership is quite common in many countries but gun violence seems most prevalent in the United States. Why do you think this is?
  8. To what extent do you think the film and music industry glorify guns? Give examples if you can.

Presentation

Make a short presentation of the NRA and the Brady Campaign. Include information about the organization’s history and size, its main arguments for or against gun control and examples of how it works.

Idiomatic Expressions

The idiomatic expressions in this interactive task are all derived from the world of guns and weapons. Match the expression and its meaning.

Role Play

The Right to Bear Arms - Roleplay

Learning content

Current debates in the English-speaking world

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