Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Missouri Bill Would Require All First Graders To Take NRA-Sponsored Gun Class

Students in Missouri have no sexual education requirement, so there’s a good chance they don’t know how to properly protect themselves from STIs or unintended pregnancy. Soon, though, they may be able to protect themselves from guns.

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.

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