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

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

Written by Annie-Rose Strasser

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.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.

 

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259 comments

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8:27PM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

This is not a bad idea, especially not in a country with an abundance of guns.
We've never owned a real gun in my household, but when I was little, my father taught me how to handle it in case I ever came across one, and how *not* to behave with a gun.
Young children of normal intelligence should be able to understand the difference between toy and the real thing, if they're explained, and that could save lives, as recent shootings have shown.

12:30PM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

I would say a little older perhaps 7. But it is very good to have training. We need to rekindle a code of conduct around weapons. In many cultures and even in the US it is considered bad manners to handle another's weapons with out permission. Unfortunately that is no been the case in the last decades. Training and conditioning save a lot of grief. It is in the same category of "never take rides with strangers".
The NRA is very good at these training programs with lots of experience. Gun training is a public safety project. Respect for the weapon is the first step.

8:10AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

Are they out of they freaking minds? Last time a 6 years old was taught to use a gun, he killed his dad. A child that age doesn't realize death is a permanent condition, nor does (s)he have the brain developed enough to fully know right from wrong.

11:45PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

ty

7:42PM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

you've got to be freaking kidding me!

1:02PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Yeah, sure... I got my first BB/pellet rifle when I was about 5 years old. My Dad taught me how to safely handle a firearm early, and we have spent great time together deer hunting almost every year since I was about 10. I have never shot anyone by accident or intent and hope I never have to. But I still have a pistol in my pocket right now as I write this at work, where at least two others also carry, and I will not hesitate to use it to defend myself or another against harm should the need arise.

Like almost all of our problems, it boils down to education from an early age.

12:56PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

American kids will never be safe. Normalising guns with young children will only arouse their curiosity. I hope you all are ready for the outcome if this awful decision goes ahead.

7:21AM PST on Mar 6, 2013

This is a good idea, but schools need to teach about STDs and contraception as well. Kids are going to have sex, period. Abstinence is a joke and barely works for some adults...

5:37PM PST on Feb 25, 2013

general is being good and well-intended. Just because a person has knowledge of something, it doesn't make them want to hurt or kill you, especially six year old children. What I don't understand is why people are not up in arms about all the medications children are on these days, and why are they on those meds? Does it have anything to do with the toxins in our food? What are the side-effects of those toxins?

As for the bill, I feel it addresses an important issue. What we don't know can hurt us. (and this applies to more than guns) I grew up around guns, so I'm fully aware of the responsibility of handling and caring for them, but for a person who is unfamiliar with them, it could cause themselves or others harm or death. Students are required to take Drivers Ed to operate vehicles in a safe and controlled matter, but the act of driving has little if no relationship to the studies of those students, yet it is required.

I fully agree, that sexual education should be a requirement, in that it teaches students how to be responsible when having sex in order to prevent STDs and pregnancies. I also feel it would be beneficial to have finance classes. Maybe they do have the today, but when I was in school they didn't.

5:20PM PST on Feb 25, 2013

I find it interesting that we accuse our politicians of being polarized and unable or unwilling to find solutions to our problems, yet we follow in their footsteps as we continue to distance ourselves from one another due to our political and social views. Or, are they following in our footsteps?

Wanda B., we've seen eye to eye on gun related matters, and I don't think this particular topic is any different, but in regard to the link you provided, do you feel the teacher was trying to push the students toward a socialist society, or was she simply stating the benefit of graphic symbolism? For example: the Swastika is viewed mostly as a Nazi symbol, which of course, represents the symbolism of evil. But before the Nazis got a hold of it, it was a symbol of "meaning good" in Indian religions. Regardless, the Swastika is a powerful graphic design. The other is the Confederate flag, which is generally looked down upon, but the design itself, without the emotion content of its past is brilliant. Now, I don't know the teacher's true intent, but I would be willing to hear her out before jumping to a conclusion. The Soviets did incorporate labor / work symbols into their flag and other materials and I feel the teacher may have been trying to get the students to think of ways to incorporate meaningful symbols in general into the class project. Then again, I might have viewed the article completely wrong.

Mary B., I understand your frustrations and concerns, but I view people in

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