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The Kansas Leadership Center Journal



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Journal Talks 2019-20: Guns and Public Safety

Journal Talks

5 Barriers Preventing better discussion
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Go Directly to Discussion Stories

The Kansas Leadership Center launched a conversation initiative in 2019 called Journal Talks to strengthen the civic culture of Kansas. It encouraged engaged citizens to conduct thoughtful discussions on the topic of guns and public safety using KLC’s Leadership Framework. This effort is ongoing and KLC needs your help to continue these conversations across the state.  This page explains how Journal Talks work and how you can host or participate in a discussion on guns and public safety. Note: In 2020, KLC is promoting a new Journal Talks series on the topic of immigration and Kansas.

What are Journal Talks?

Journal Talks are a small-group conversation series based on content from The Journal, the Kansas Leadership Center’s print and online magazine. Each year, KLC selects an issue of statewide interest and encourages civically engaged individuals to discuss it using KLC’s principles and competencies of leadership as a guidepost. The Journal Talks topic for 2019 is guns and public safety.

To learn more about the concept behind Journal Talks, please see the column written by Shaun Rojas, KLC’s director of civic engagement. 

Now, it’s time for KLC alumni, the thousands of people who’ve participated in Kansas Leadership Center programs over the past decade, to put the skills they developed to use. We’re asking alumni to convene small-group discussions shaped by the KLC framework about this issue, a series of locally led conversations we call Journal Talks.

How do Journal Talks work?

The idea is that you as a convener decide where Journal Talks will take place, how the conversation will be set up and who will be asked to attend. To help, KLC has produced a set of discussion cards on the topic of guns and public safety that should work well with groups of 4-6 people. Although we provide guides, there’s no one way to host a Journal Talk. Talks can take place in a classroom, at the dinner table or in a coffee shop. Pretty much wherever you want, with whoever you want, with your creativity being the only limitation. Our only request is that you come to the discussion with a willingness to honor the KLC leadership idea of holding and testing multiple interpretations and points of view.

What will change as a result of Journal Talks?

The purpose of the talks isn’t to get people to come to agreement. KLC doesn’t take policy positions on what should be done about civic issues and we don’t expect the discussions people have will result in immediate changes. However, we do believe that it’s important for KLC alumni to practice to conducting conversations with others on the most difficult, emotional issues impacting society. If thousands of people can build their skills at understanding different points of view and get more comfortable at having difficult discussions on the heated topics that divide people, that is likely to improve the abilities of society to solve tough problems across the board.

Talking about guns and public safety seems hard? Can I really do this?

The 5 barriers preventing a better debate over guns and public safety.

Sure, it’s not an easy topic to tackle. Chris Green, The Journal’s managing editor, acknowledges as much in a column from the Winter edition examining five barriers to talking about guns, with suggestions for how to get past them.  While acknowledging the challenge, Green notes that “rather than describing what someone else believes in the most negative terms possible, we will be better served if we can describe their position in ways they can agree with. You can read his column here.

There’s also a video of Green’s presentation about the five barriers from a Journal magazine launch event.

Get your Discussion Cards!

We’ve created these discussion cards to help you host a talk on guns and public safety. They are easy to use, and we offer three ways to play the cards, but you are welcome to invent your own ways to use them.

Get Your Cards Here. 


Then Share Your Journal Talk Story 

After your talk, post a group picture on your favorite social network and tag us using the hashtag #JournalTalks.

Do you have more questions? Do you need more information?

Please contact Shaun Rojas at or 316-712-4956.

Discussion Stories

In addition to using the discussion cards above, you can also refer to the content we published in the Winter 2019 edition of The Journal, featured below. From the magazine:

To put guns and public safety in perspective, The Journal tells 14 stories of Kansans sharing what they believe about guns, why they believe it, and what they think Kansans need to discuss when it comes to the topic. We’re urging our readers to spend the most time exploring perspectives they either disagree with or want to understand better. The Kansas Leadership Center teaches that it’s only through holding and testing multiple interpretations and points of view that we can truly understand the nature of tough adaptive challenges.



















































Related stories from The Journal

A call to action for KLC alumni to host talks about guns and public safety

The 5 barriers preventing a better debate over guns and public safety

Cease Fire: The Stories

For Garden City immigrants, an interest in guns comes with complications

The day a ‘good guy’ with a gun took charge in Lenexa

The facts: Kansas gun deaths reach 18-year high in 2017

Hays educator sees a treasured rural gun culture slipping away

Champion shooter from Paola aims for a shift away from negative gun rhetoric

Hunting tradition provides lifelong memories, unbreakable bonds for Overland Park man

Debate looks different from behind a Wichita area gun shop counter

Western Kansas family still grappling with son’s loss in suicide

Mother of Kansas City gun homicide victim seeks to turn pain into purpose

The appalling racial disparity in Kansas’ gun homicide rate

Kansas City trauma surgeon providing second chances to gun violence victims

Jackson County sheriff determined to make schools less vulnerable

Topeka area superintendent works to address mental, emotional health of students

Lenexa mom becomes a quiet force to reduce gun violence

In push to reduce teen suicides, a Johnson County official hands out gun locks

After saying ‘enough is enough,” Wichita area’s teen advocates long for faster gun-law changes

McCormick: Stopping the circle of violence requires inclusion

Learning to provide lifesaving training is one way any one can help with mass shooting threat