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Rapid Response Conversations on Guns in America

National Conversation Project

September 11, 2019

Contact: Pearce Godwin
Phone: (828) 773-2586
Email: pearce@nationalconversationproject.org

Following Mass Shootings, #ListenFirst Coalition of 250 Organizations Is Providing Skills, Resources and Opportunities to Understand People of Different Perspectives on Guns and Move To Solutions Together.

Americans of all stripes including political leaders are talking about guns in the aftermath of recent mass shootings. Most conversations are happening within like-minded echo chambers. The #ListenFirst Coalition seeks to break down those silos toward a true national conversation across differences on guns. #ListenFirst #GunConvo

National Conversation Project powered by the 250 member #ListenFirst Coalition has launched Rapid Response Conversations on Guns in the aftermath of recent mass shootings that have grabbed the attention of Americans across the ideological spectrum. The #ListenFirst Coalition believes that conversations across differences on this issue are vital for the nation to address the challenge and move forward together. Virtual and in-person conversations are being planned coast to coast welcoming people of widely diverse perspectives on guns in America. 

"With more than 40 people killed in four shootings since July, the FBI reports a worsening trend, currently averaging an active shooter every other week. This has caused many Americans to reflect on how to best address the situation, how to appropriately balance liberty with security," says Pearce Godwin, Executive Director of the overarching, collaborative National Conversation Project. "This has traditionally been an incredibly challenging and contentious issue as we've been unable to agree on the nature of the problem, never mind the solution. Some have said the answer is more guns, while others have said the answer is fewer guns. It's hard for an issue to get more polarized or intractable than that."

"But mass shootings that deeply disturb everyone of good will across all perspectives present an opportunity to wrestle with this issue together in good faith," Godwin continues. "Our Coalition of organizations seeking to bridge divides of all kinds to mend the frayed fabric of America, is anxious to see these conversations across differences take place in communities across the country and pleased to offer conversation guides, tips, opportunities, and resources to support them. New research from More in Common reveals that we aren't as far apart on the gun issue as we think. Who's that person in your life with whom you've been curious to talk about guns? Invite them to have a courageous conversation in which you both listen first to understand."

See resources and upcoming conversation opportunities on the National Conversation Project Guns & Responsibility page.

National Conversation Project offers four principles for conversations across differences:

  1. Listen first to understand
  2. Be curious and open to learning
  3. Suspend judgement and extend grace
  4. Maximize diversity of perspectives

#ListenFirst + #GunConvo

What is National Conversation Project?

There is growing, even violent, division in communities across America. We’re withdrawing from conversations—eroding relationships and understanding—fraying our social fabric. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level. Experts say the solution is to cultivate more positive social connections. Thankfully, 75% of Americans are willing to practice conversations across divides, and 36%—more than 100 million people—want to see a national campaign to that end. National Conversation Project—powered by ~250 organizations—is that campaign.

National Conversation Project seeks to mend the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides one conversation at a time. We promote annual National Weeks of Conversation, #ListenFirst Fridays, Rapid Response Conversations on urgent topics, locally-focused #ListenFirst movements, and any conversation inviting people of all stripes to revitalize America together. NCP is an overarching, collaborative platform that aggregates, aligns, and amplifies the efforts of ~250 partners to mainstream conversations in which we #ListenFirst to understand. www.nationalconversationproject.org #ListenFirst

National Conversation Project is supported by the generous donations of Sustaining Members including Listen First Project, Common Ground Committee, ProCon.org, Living Room Conversations, AllSides, Big Tent Nation, Bridge Alliance Education Fund, Civicus, Essential Partners, Hyland Software, Issue One, Mediators Foundation, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, National Institute for Civil Discourse, National Issues Forums, Outreach Experts, Sacred Discourse, Someone To Tell It Too, Take Back Our Republic, and Urban Confessional. We welcome any individual or organization to power this movement of conversations across differences as a Sustaining Member of National Conversation Project.

Reference: Civility in America VII: The State of Civility, Weber Shandwick
Reference: The Perception Gap: How False Impressions are Pulling Americans Apart, More in Common