Guns and public safety

In the wake of the Newtown tragedy and other high-profile shootings, opposing viewpoints on firearms have hardened into “battle lines” of debate.

A better way forward is needed— and possible— which is why Essential Partners has identified this issue as our priority. We seek to expand our proven model for dialogue to issues of guns, personal rights, and community safety to communities across the U.S.

Amidst deepening polarization around guns, people shared their widely different experiences, and discussed how to create a safe community together.
Advocates and community leaders with deeply divergent views engaged in constructive dialogue on one of the state's most divisive issues.

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  • The Christian Science Monitor
  • The Mantle Project
  • Montana Humanities Council
  • Montana Mediation Assocation
  • Instead of demonizing and dehumanizing the other, we built a deeper connection. The fact that we disagree matters much less. It matters much more that we are neighbors in this community.

    Linda Gryczan, Montana Mediation Association
  • This wasn’t a policy debate. Instead, two people whose backgrounds and views diverged in almost every way possible shared a moment of honesty that struck at the heart of the matter.

    Cricket Fuller, The Christian Science Monitor
  • The highlight for me was the interconnectedness of the participants’ views, mutual respect, and range of experiences within the group

    Project Participant, Montana
  • I had been judging those who disagree with me as uneducated on the issue

    Project Participant, Montana
  • I am now open to new views and can moderate my impulse to debate or persuade others of different views

    Project Participant, Montana