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The gun debate in the US has ignited once again. It follows the latest mass shooting, this time in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed.

Whenever there is gun violence in the US the debate over the second amendment heats up. The second amendment gives all citizens the right to carry fire arms and it was enshrined in the constitution when America was founded in 1776. Many Americans believe that it is an outdated right which has no place in a modern society. Each time there is a mass shooting, or other gun related violence, it causes the gun rights activists and gun law activists to fiercely debate the appropriateness of the amendment.

Usually, very little is done as the gun lobby is exceedingly powerful in the US and they successfully neutralise the debate. This time, however, is different. The students of Stoneman Douglas are high schoolers and as such they are able to speak out and join the gun debate. They have done so in a gallant manner by protesting their local and federal representatives. They have been speaking out on television, online and in newspapers. They have taken the lead in the gun debate and sparked passion into people who want to end gun violence.

For the first time after a mass shooting things are starting to change. Major businesses are dropping support for the National Rifle Association (NRA), as they endeavour not to be associated with the group. Prior to the shooting many businesses offered exclusive discounts and benefits to NRA members. Some of the biggest gun retailers in the US are even taking their own actions to curb gun sales. Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, two major US gun retailers, decided to raise their policies on the age limit at which people are allowed to buy guns. Under current laws some guns can be bought at 18, now Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods will raise the age limit, for all guns, to 21.

The reaction that is being seen across the US is unprecedented. There are always protests and debates after mass shootings and they rarely have an affect. The ability of the high schoolers in February’s shooting to speak for themselves has reframed the debate. It is much more difficult for a politician who supports the NRA to tell high schoolers, who were shot at while in school, that the US doesn’t need stricter gun laws.

Maybe the high schoolers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas are at the forefront of a revolution.

Difficult words

Ignited: To start or catch fire.

Enshrined: To deliberately place.

Appropriateness: Something that is suitable.

Exceedingly: Extremely, tremendously.

Gallant: To be brave.

Curb: To restrain or change something.

Unprecedented: Has never been done before.

Reframed: To change the outline of something.

Forefront: The leading most important thing.

 

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Ignited A. Suitable
2. Enshrined B. Restrain
3. Appropriateness C. Brave
4. Exceedingly D. Start
5. Gallant E. Unmatched
6. Curb F. Extremely
7. Unprecedented G. Change
8. Reframed H. Leading
9. Forefront I.  Place

True or False?

1. The last major mass shooting occurred in Florida at a university. T / F

2.  It has been legal to own a gun since the founding of the U.S.A. T / F

3.  Everyone in America believes guns have a place in modern society. T / F

4. Arguments over gun laws always arise after a mass shooting. T / F

5.  Gun lobbying is very weak in the U.S. T / F

6.  The high schoolers are joining the gun debate. T / F

7.  The high schoolers are pushing to be allowed to have guns in school. T / F

8.  Major U.S. gun retailers have increased the age limit to buy guns.T / F

9.  It is not common for protests about guns to have an effect on the laws. T / F

10.  Politicians can easily tell these traumatised high schoolers that gun regulations do not need to be reformed. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. again / US / the / ignited / once / gun / The / debate / has / in

2. amendment / the / all / fire / right / citizens / gives / The / carry / to / arms / second

3. Americans / it / right / an / believe / Many / that / is / outdated

4. gun / the / done / is / exceedingly / powerful / lobby / is / Usually, / little / as / very

5. gallant / so / They / in / protesting / a / by / done / have / manner

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

 Endeavour  Fiercely  Ignited
 Neutralise  Politician  Gallant
 Sparked  Violence  Curb

 

The gun debate in the US has _____________ once again. It follows the latest mass shooting, this time in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed.

Whenever there is gun __________ in the US the debate over the second amendment heats up. The second amendment gives all citizens the right to carry fire arms and it was enshrined in the constitution when America was founded in 1776. Many Americans believe that it is an outdated right which has no place in a modern society. Each time there is a mass shooting, or other gun related violence, it causes the gun rights activists and gun law activists to ____________ debate the appropriateness of the amendment.

Usually, very little is done as the gun lobby is exceedingly powerful in the US and they successfully ____________ the debate. This time however is different. The students of Stoneman Douglas are high schoolers and as such they are able to speak out and join the gun debate. They have done so in a ___________ manner by protesting their local and federal representatives. They have been speaking out on television, online and in newspapers. They have taken the lead in the gun debate and ___________ passion into people who want to end gun violence.

For the first time after a mass shooting things are starting to change. Major businesses are dropping support for the National Rifle Association (NRA), as they ____________ not to be associated with the group. Prior to the shooting many businesses offered exclusive discounts and benefits to NRA members. Some of the biggest gun retailers in the US are even taking their own actions to _________ gun sales. Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, two major US gun retailers, decided to raise their policies on the age limit at which people are allowed to buy guns. Under current laws some guns can be bought at 18, now Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods will raise the age limit, for all guns, to 21.

The reaction that is being seen across the US is unprecedented, there are always protests and debates after mass shootings and they rarely have an affect. The ability of the high schoolers in February’s shooting to speak for themselves has reframed the debate. It is much more difficult for a ____________ who supports the NRA to tell high schoolers, who were shot at while in school, that the US doesn’t need stricter gun laws.

Maybe the high schoolers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas are at the forefront of a revolution.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What are gun laws like in your country?
4. Have there been any shootings in your country?
5. Do you or someone you know own a gun?
6. Would you like to own a gun?
7.  Donald Trump said teachers should have guns, what do you think?
8.  What should America do to stop this from happening?
9. Are any weapons allowed in your country?
10. Do police in your country carry guns?
11. Do you think America should keep guns because it’s tradition?
12. Are there any dangerous traditions in your country?
13.  Is there a tradition in your country that would make you angry if it was taken away?
14.  Have you ever gone hunting?
15. Is hunting popular in your country?
16. Do you think these shootings make people not travel to America?
17.  Would you change your plans if there was a shooting in the city you were going to visit?
18. Bulletproof backpacks have become popular in America, what do you think?
19.  Do you think schools need to be safer in America?
20. Are there metal detectors at any schools in your country?