Several years ago, I, (as a legislator), received a booklet entitled, Children, Youth, and Gun Violence: Issues and Ideas.
The opening statement that this booklet was: “Each year more than 20,000 people under 20 are killed or injured by guns in the United States.” Almost immediately following that was the comment, “But too often, gun policy debates focus on the rights of adults to own guns and pay scant attention to issues of children’s safety.”
I thought, “Oh, oh, here we go again-an argument for more gun control.”
Certainly, none of us wants to see children mac10 for sale die by the gun, either by accident or by deliberate acts. But, that, in itself, is not any rationale for more gun control laws.
This booklet advocated educating parents to protect their children from gun violence, “either by choosing not to keep guns in the home, or by storing guns locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition.”
When I was a young shaver, my father kept a shotgun in his little cubicle of a home office, (he actually was a laborer). We were taught NEVER to touch that gun. And from the punishments that had been meted out to us in the past for far less serious infractions, we knew he meant business, and we never did touch it!
However, if we wanted to go with him hunting, or be with him target practicing, we were allowed. In our family, we children, were never encouraged to have our own guns, though my oldest brother knew how to shoot a 22. In those days, many parents, including my own, frowned on pointing even toy guns at another person, though the enforcement wasn’t quite as strict.
This report went on to talk more about restricting access to guns by children, and then did take up the issue of “Educational Interventions to Reduce Youth Gun Injury and Violence.” They listed several programs to educate children about guns.
One was the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program. This is a program advocated by the National Rifle Association, (NRA). I have heard gun advocates talk about this program many times. I have listened to how effective it can be. Many schools around the United States offer this program to students.
But many more schools refuse to allow students to participate in this program. Their attitude, in some cases, is that allowing this program might be viewed as support for the NRA.
The Eddie Eagle Program is taught to students from prekindergarten through grade 6. There is a motivational “big book” for the younger children, activity books for grades 2 & 3, and 4 -6, with a 7 minute video, reward stickers, parent letter, etc. “The message is: If you see a gun, stop! Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.”
Gun advocates tout how effective this program is.
This publication’s evaluation: “NRA cites testimonials and reductions in accidental death rates between 1991 and 1992…but no formal evaluations have been published.”
Another program is “Straight Talk about Risks”, (STAR), from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (You remember Jim Brady was the aide to President Reagan who was severely wounded in the presidential assassination attempt.) Certainly that program ought to get an A+ by the critics?