View Full Version : Proposal to Teach Gun Safety in Elementary Schools

05-03-2010, 5:22 PM

Firearm Safety Program Coming to Virginia Elementary Schools

In addition to budget issues, Virginia lawmakers are looking at changes to various bills during Wednesday's one-day session, including a bill that brings gun safety programs to elementary schools.

One of the bills calls for the Virginia Board of Education to "establish a standardized program of firearm safety education for students in the elementary school grades to promote the protection and safety of children."

Once the program is created and made available, it will be up to individual school divisions to determine if they want to incorporate it into their classrooms.

Some Valley parents have concerns about the idea.

"It's not the wisest thing because, for instance, [my daughter]. She doesn't know what a gun is. But, if she sees gun safety, then now she's curious about it," says Nery Washington, who lives in Harrisonburg.

Dennis Golden runs a gun store in the Friendly City called Ashby Arms.

Safety is something he says he's already stressing with his stepchildren. He supports taking the message of gun safety into schools.

"Even if they're not around them in their own home, they could come in contact with firearms in other people's homes," says Golden.

The legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of this move.

According to the text of the bill, lawmakers require "that the program objectives incorporate, among other principles of firearm safety, accident prevention and the rules of the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program."

"Nothing about this program should make children curious about firearms, and we don't encourage children to own a gun. So, as to any of those kind of fears, I would say they're totally unwarranted," says Alexa Fritts, a spokeswoman for the NRA.

The NRA program teaches kids if they see a gun, not to touch it, leave the area and to tell an adult about it.

"For something that [my daughter] doesn't know, you're actually opening it out there for her to be curious about it. And so, now she is going to look for the gun," says Washington.

"Video games and television are going to have more of an effect on children and wanting to see and be around firearms than a safety class," says Golden.

A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Education says employees haven't started putting the program together yet since lawmakers were still debating language of the bill Wednesday. The spokesperson says it's unlikely the board will have a program approved in time for next school year.

Copyright 2010 WHSV / Gray Television Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Schools teach about 'stranger danger' to protect children from pedophiles and that doesnt make the children so curious about the 'strangers' that they would seek them out... Withholding information from children about things that are dangerous only makes them vulnerable in their ignorance...Whether it is guns, or matches, or strangers with candy- they cannot make the connection between them and the damage that can occur unless someone makes the connection for them.

05-03-2010, 5:33 PM
A good idea. Personanly I credit my dad teaching me about guns since I was 8 with the fact that I have never had a gun fire when I did not intend it to. If you remove the taboo associated with talking about guns and teach kids how to be safe around them they become less of an illicit fixation when they are seen by kids.

05-03-2010, 5:59 PM
This is one of those things I have ALWAYS screamed loud and hard for our school systems to adopt.

Gun violence and gun accidents are not a "gun problem", rather they are social problems. Social problems are heavily mitigated with more education and typically exacerbated by less education.

This is an issue where more education can only mean one thing: less violence, less accidents, and MORE safety.

In fact, this is a program that can very easily appease both sides since actual physical guns don't even need to be present for people to learn these safety fundamentals.

05-03-2010, 6:11 PM
When I was in middle school, the seventh grade in pe class we had them. You know football, soccer, wrestling and hunter safety course. We had to bring our rifles on the school bus, put them in our lockers and then went on feild trips to the rifle range. This was in butte county. I'm 39 now and I know this will will never happen again in this state. Good memories for me though.

05-03-2010, 6:13 PM
Thankfully we still have the Boy Scouts, the NRA Youth program, and the CMP that support these groups.