Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 19, 2017

Rifle fire at U.S. House baseball practice: Gun debate suddenly is more personal for Congress

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Share a statement this week by a Congress member or someone else on this topic.
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Pick a forceful sentence or paragraph in an opinion column about guns. Which words make it powerful?
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Was a representative from your state at the interrupted practice or a charity game the next day?

America's gun debate is newly energized by a shooting that wounded a U.S. representative at a Republican congressional baseball team practice last week near Washington, D.C. The rifleman who hit Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana was killed by return fire from two U.S. Capitol Police officers accompanying Salise because he's a House leader. The ballfield ambush in Arlington, Va., immediately became a flashpoint for the long, heated discussion about regulating firearms.

The shooter, A 66-year-old Illinois man, legally owned the military-style semiautomatic rifle he used in a public place – which gun control backers say shows again that too many guns with too much firepower are far too accessible. Without such a rifle, they argue, he may not have injured five people and posed the risk of a massacre. For gun rights supporters, the fact that handgun-carrying officers prevented a potential mass slaying shows that people should be able to arm themselves in self-defense. "If this had happened in Georgia, he wouldn't have gotten too far," says Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. One of his aides keeps a 9mm handgun in his car when in Georgia, but isn’t allowed to do so in the District of Columbia. A day after the woundings, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., introduced a bill to allow anyone with a concealed carry permit in their home state to use it in the District of Columbia, which has some of the strictest U.S. gun laws in the nation. Open carry of firearms is generally not allowed in the district, unlike neighboring Virginia where the shooting occurred.

Rep. Scalise, still hospitalized and facing more surgeries after being shot in the hip, is an enthusiastic supporter of gun owners' rights. "Efforts to restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans will only punish those who play by the rules and will be ignored by criminals who break the law," he said in a 2012 response to steps by then-President Barack Obama to tighten some federal rules after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. On the debate's other side, the head of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, reacted to last week’s crime by saying: "All Americans, including our elected leaders, should live in an environment where they can pursue everyday activities without fear of being shot." The June 14 attack was the 154th mass shooting so far this year in America.

Congressman says: "This could be the first political rhetorical terrorist attack, and that has to stop." – Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., who was at the baseball practice

President Trump says: "We will not be intimidated by threats, acts of violence or assaults on our democracy. The game will go on." -- Video statement at congressional charity ballgame June 15

Columnist says: "Violence, particularly gun violence, is the American fact, the American shame." – Charles Blow, The New York Times

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2017
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