Missouri state Senate is considering a bill that would require all first graders in the state to take a gun safety training course. Using a grant provided by the National Rifle Association, it would put a “National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program” instructor in every first grade classroom.
The irony that there’s no requirement for students to learn about their bodies — but that there is one for deadly weapons — seems lost on the legislators proposing the measure, one of whom lamented, “I hate mandates as much as anyone, but some concerns and conditions rise to the level of needing a mandate”:pushing for its passage:
Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, told the Senate General Laws Committee Tuesday that his bill was an effort to teach young children what to do if they come across an unsecured weapon.[...]
“I hate mandates as much as anyone, but some concerns and conditions rise to the level of needing a mandate,” Brown said.
Senators watched a brief segment of the training video during the hearing. The segment featured a cartoon eagle telling children to step away from an unsecured gun and immediately report it to an adult.
The measure would also require teachers to spend eight hours in a training course for how to respond to an armed assailant in the school. But the NRA will not foot the bill for the cost of substitute teachers on those days — despite the organizations stated focus on protecting the classroom.
And if the legislature is truly worried about protecting their students, sex education is a good place to start. Missouri’s young people suffer some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country. Many of the schools run abstinence-only education, which is proven ineffective and likely to lead to more STIs and unintended pregnancies. It may not be as terrifying to a parent to imagine their child pregnant instead of shot, but it’s a much more likely possibility: In Missouri, 51 out of every 1,000 women have an unintended pregnancy, while there are 12.3 gun deaths per 100,00 people.