Firearms Safety Classes in Schools
By Rep. Ronald Nate – District 34
January 31, 2018
This photograph in the March 1956 issue of Life Magazine shows a classroom of youngsters in Indiana learning about guns and gun safety from a police officer. Guns and gun safety are almost as American as apple pie. They are even more common in Idaho. I took hunter safety education when I was in the scouting program. In the modern era of school shootings, accidental firearms injuries and deaths, and growing gun ownership, many states are returning to gun safety classes in schools.
Currently, at least 12 states allow for gun safety classes in public schools. Michigan and Missouri recently added gun safety to their schools. The Firearms Safety Classes in Schools bill (H443) encourages school boards to approve gun safety classes for Idaho schools. The bill is simple and it doesn’t mandate gun safety classes, it only encourages school boards to consider providing them for primary and secondary students.
There are several national education programs directed toward kids in kindergarten through 3rd grade. The focus is on what kids should do when they encounter a gun. Many kids who have not grown up around guns, have a natural curiosity about them. The early gun safety classes teach them to Stop, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area, and Tell an Adult. The programs have demonstrated success. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the National Rifle Association’s Eddie-Eagle program has reduced incidental firearm-related deaths among their children participants by more than 80%.
Even if kids don’t have guns in their home, there’s a significant chance they will encounter them in the homes of their friends or in other situations. Over 1/3 of homes in America have guns—probably more in Idaho. Teaching kids the proper dangers and cautions will help keep them and their friends safe. Many gun safety programs also teach about active shooter situations and what to do. This is valuable training for when and if such a horrible incident might occur in Idaho.
Hopefully Idaho can join the other states in adding to child safety by teaching them the basics about guns and gun safety. It can be a life saver.
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