Guns in a Free Society

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Our first topic in the multiplatform THINK! initiative is Guns in a Free Society. Our conversations will not focus on politics or Second Amendment issues. Instead, we hope to explore productive ideas for living with guns in a free society. Our community partner is the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh. This historic organization is a dedicated proponent of strategies that will increase gun safety and reduce gun violence.

As the initiative grows, THINK! will engage the community in public gatherings and online forums, through social media, direct-to-web videos, a televised town hall meeting and live streaming.

The discussions will focus on the following three areas:

• Mental Health and Guns
• Promoting Gun Safety as a Cultural Norm
• The Economic Impact of Guns in Our Communities

Live Broadcast Event

Premiered on Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 8:00pm


Moderator Chris Moore leads a panel discussion that explores productive ideas for living with guns in a free society. The topics will focus on mental health and guns, gun safety as a cultural norm, and the economic impact of guns in our communities. Co-host Lisa Washington fields audience and social media questions.

Panelists include Christine Michaels (NAMI), Dr. David Brent (University of Pittsburgh), Valerie Dixon (Coalition Against Violence), Peter Georgiades (F.I.R.E.), Jody Salerno (NRA Instructor), Klint Macro (NRA Training Counselor), Karen Hacker (Allegheny County Health Dept.), Preston Shimer (Local Government Academy), Tim Stevens (B-PEP).

Community Forums

In October 2016, our team organized two community forums in Pittsburgh and Washington, PA where participants discussed productive ideas, increasing gun safety and reducing gun violence.

Community Forum, Pittsburgh, PA

October 27, 2016

Community Forum, Washington, PA

October 29, 2016


THINK! Living with Guns Community Forums: Read the discussion guide prepared for the THINK! Community Forums

Good Government Forums: Gun Safety in a Free Society (2013-2014): Read the report from three forums held by The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh

Mental Health: To see proposals for what we might do in our region, read the report from Allegheny County’s Public Commission on Preventing Violence and Promoting Community Mental Health

Read proposals from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Community Mental Health: To read one framework for addressing community trauma and promoting community health, visit the Prevention Institute and read their report.

Promoting Gun Safety: To read about collaborative efforts to promote gun safety, visit:

Costs of Gun Violence:

Watch a 90 second video from Mother Jones magazine about the costs of gun violence

Read the full report from Mother Jones magazine


Watch WQED’s previous productions on gun violence

Gun Violence: The Victims

Watch WQED's documentary Gun Violence: The Victims, which focuses on the personal toll of gun violence.

Gun Violence: The Voices

Watch WQED's documentary Gun Violence: The Voices, focusing on the people working for change.

A Community Forum on Gun Violence

Watch WQED's Community Forum on Gun Violence from May 2013.

About THINK!

THINK! is a new series of initiatives that began in the fall of 2016 on WQED. THINK! is a call to action – and interaction – that invites a broad spectrum of voices and organizations to join together and collaborate around issues that confound and divide us. THINK! seeks to optimize public interaction, and, to do so, WQED is partnering with the Art of Democracy, an award-winning organization that fosters informed and inclusive public engagement. The Art of Democracy, working closely with WQED, will develop a community engagement process that will enlist a diverse and inclusive group of civic organizations. We’ll spread the word and encourage participation in thoughtful, productive conversations. Conversations that matter to you, your neighbors and your community. Those conversations will happen here – on this web page and in the social media realm. And in real time, at face-to-face community forums near you. The many voices taking part in the initiative will coalesce in hour-long broadcast specials from the WQED studios where experts, civic leaders and community members come together. Be part of the conversation and join us for THINK!

Art of Democracy