Winning Gun Violence Essays Released

National Institute for Civil Discourse

Releases Winning Essays

Supporting a National Conversation about Gun Violence


The U.S. Senate this week ended a filibuster attempt on a new gun control bill setting up a floor fight next week over what could be the most dramatic changes to U.S. gun laws in two decades. A vote could come as early as Tuesday on the bipartisan proposal that would expand background checks to all commercial gun sales and close the so-called gun show loophole. And as the debate in Washington proceeds, The National Institute for Civil Discourse is now releasing the winners in its call for essays to address the challenges of conducting constructive conversations about gun violence in the United States. As part of its mission, NICD seeks to promote civil discourse on issues of public interest and does not take a policy position on gun violence or gun control but is committed to encouraging a civil discussion among our citizens.

A number of deliberative democracy groups across the country have signaled their interest in leading citizen discussions, bringing together ordinary people who hold different views on what should be done about gun violence.  Ideally, these discussions could explore types of recommendations, which all participants could support.

In support of this process, the National Institute for Civil Discourse asked for evidence-based essay proposals, which address the challenges of conducting constructive public conversations about the volatile issue of gun violence in the United States. The essays draw on research or case studies with links to scholarship and/or practice. Our winners are:

Regin Kelly, a PhD student at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Ms. Kelly's essay focuses on how media coverage of events like the January 8th, 2011 Tucson shooting make it difficult to talk about gun violence among people with different views.  Click to read Kelly's Essay

Stephen P. Konieczka, a PhD student at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Mr. Konieczka addressess the historically consistent causes and consequences of everyday gun violence.  Click to read Konieczka's essay

Sarah J. Read, President of the Communications Center in Columbia, Missouri and Dave Overfelt, Rochester, NY based consultant for the Communications Center. Read and Overfelt look at how a society can build the trust needed to navigate the difficult issues of gun violence. Click to read Read's essay 

Greg Keidan, a public engagement specialist and writer in the San Francisco Bay Area, writes about strategies for facilitating constructive dialogues about guns and violence.  Click to read Keidan's essay.

Each of our winners will receive a $2,500 stipend for their work.       

Congratulations to our winners!