Living Room Conversations published the conversation guide, Guns and Responsibility, in October 2017. The guide gives pointers on how to hold living room conversations in order to develop a deeper understanding between participants around gun beliefs, gun safety, and responsible gun ownership. You can read the guide below, find a downloadable PDF here, or the original on Living Room Conversation’s site here.
From the guide…
In Living Room Conversations, a small group of people (e.g. 4-7) people come together to get to know one another in a more meaningful way. Guided by a simple and sociable format, participants practice being open and curious about all perspectives, with a focus on learning from one another, rather than trying to debate the topic at hand.
The Living Room Conversation Ground Rules
Be Curious and Open to Learning
Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning.
Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.
Show Respect and Suspend Judgment
Human beings tend to judge one another, do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better
enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.
Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences
In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on
some beliefs and opinions.
Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be
considerate to others who are doing the same.
Be Purposeful and to the Point
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are
making the same point more than once.
Own and Guide the Conversation
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what’s
happening and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.
Though feedback is consistently positive, some people are concerned about managing people that dominate the conversation as well as off-topic, or disruptive situations during the Living Room Conversation. We offer these tips:
Rounds/Questions: The Living Room Conversation Starts Here
We all care about the victims of gun violence. We all love our children and our family. We all want children to arrive home safely at the end of the day. We have seen tragedy in our communities and want that to end. Let’s start with this as a given. This conversation focuses on our own personal experience with guns, gun safety and our beliefs about the balance between constitutional right and common good. This is a conversation about our hopes and concerns with a diverse set of community members in order to develop a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges surrounding responsible gun ownership.
Background Information: While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
Round One: Getting Started / Why Are We Here?
Round Two: Core Values
Answer one or more of the following:
Round Three: Guns and Responsibility
Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer one or more of the following questions:
Round Four: Reflection
Answer one or more of the following questions:
Round Five: Accomplishment and Next Steps
Answer both of the following questions:
About Living Room Conversations
Living Room Conversations are a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us. They provide an easy structure for engaging in friendly yet meaningful conversation with those with whom we may not agree. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is needed.
Follow on Twitter: @LivingRoomConvo
Resource Link: www.livingroomconversations.org/topics/guns_and_responsibility/