Students are never too young for gun safety



Teaching children gun safety basics can prevent tragedies.

Along with fire safety days and lock down drills, gun-safety courses could soon be taught at Missouri public schools. 

Last July, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law a bill that includes a provision encouraging Missouri schools to teach a National Rifle Association-sponsored gun safety class, according to an article by MSNBC.

With firearms found in about half of American households, gun safety is a subject worth discussing in school. 

The new bill did not gain national attention until a new measure was introduced that encourages schools to teach gun safety to first-graders through courses such as the National Rifle Association’s “Eddie Eagle” GunSafe Program.

Opponents of the bill argue that there is no need to teach gun safety to five and six-year-olds and claim the program is intended to attract the next generation of NRA members.

Unfortunately, several incidents in the last year confirm that there is a current need to teach gun safety to younger children.

Last week, a four-year-old boy was shot and killed by his four-year-old female cousin after they found a gun under a bed and began playing with it. Last October, a five-year-old boy fatally shot himself with a gun in Texas. Two weeks before that, a two-year-old girl fatally shot herself in North Carolina. In New Orleans, a five-year-old girl fatally shot herself. Last August, a three-year-old boy in Michigan found a handgun hidden at home in a closet and fatally shot himself in the head, according to an article by CNN. 

Many people read these horrific stories and respond that it is the adult’s fault for keeping a gun in the house where children are able to find them. They are right. It is the adult’s fault, and in every case mentioned above where a child accidentally fired a gun the adult was charged. Adults should store guns in places where children cannot reach them. Unfortunately, in many cases they do not. If we can prevent a kid from accidentally shooting him or herself in the event that they do find a gun, then we should.

The NRA’s program is designed to promote the protection and safety of children. It teaches students that if they see a gun they should, “STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult,” according to the NRA Eddie Eagle website.

Popular media suggest that this program will become a regular part of curriculum in public schools, and instill an interest for guns within children.

In reality, the program is taught in a one to five day format. The purpose of the program is not to teach whether guns are good or bad, but to recognize that they have become a detail of everyday life, like swimming pools, household poisons or matchboxes, and they should be granted the same level of awareness.

Danger breeds in ignorance. By acknowledging guns as a fact of life and teaching gun safety to youth, fewer accidental and preventable children deaths will occur.

-Ashley Lynn Fisher is a junior English major from Gig Harbor. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.