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Gun safety classes in schools
March 1, 2017
By Idaho Congressman Ronald Nate

The picture above is from the March 1956 issue of Life Magazine and it shows a classroom of youngsters in Indiana learning about guns and gun safety from a police officer. In the modern era of school shootings and growing gun ownership, many states are returning to gun safety classes in schools.

Currently, at least 11 states allow for gun safety classes in public schools from elementary school through high school. One state allows for gun safety classes in high school only.

I am working on a bill to allow and encourage 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 as electives for secondary students.

If successful, we can look toward expanding the program to primary schools as well.

There are several national education programs directed toward kids in kindergarten through third grade. The focus is on what to do when in the presence of 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 program has demonstrated success. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the National Rifle Association's Eddie-the-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.

Teaching them 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.

The Idaho bill to encourage school boards to offer elective courses in gun safety is currently in the House Education Committee, and it was successful in its introduction hearing today. A full hearing should be forthcoming.

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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