An after-school program in Missouri allows children of any age to learn gun safety and marksmanship:

Ready, aim, fire. A new statewide program in Missouri has introduced an after-school lesson on gun safety for public school students.

According to local ABC news affiliate KSPR, the special program brings students of various ages to the Missouri Department of Conservation gun range where they spend several hours discussing gun safety, learning how to properly handle weapons and even practicing on the range.

Mike Brooks, a supervisor at the range, believes that educating children early on can curb their curiosity and decrease the chances of them misusing firearms.

The idea just makes sense, and in our opinion, should be replicated across the country.

Whether we like guns or hate guns, I think we can all agree that children who have only seen firearms in television programs, movies, and video games have been “educated” to point guns at other people. I think that we can also all agree that this is a very bad aspect of our popular culture that could stand some deprogramming in the form of formal education.

The proven and effective way to reduce the possibility of gun “accidents” is to educate children in the ways of gun safety and marksmanship.

Age-appropriate gun safety programs for children in the lower elementary age groups is a great way to introduce children to the concepts of gun safety (which at young ages is keyed upon identification, avoidance, and alerting a responsible adult), which could easily be incorporated into lesson plans at the beginning of every school year. this lesson could repeated again later in the spring semester (midyear) to reinforce the message.

Kaytlyn Leonard brought the "Eddie Eagle" program to 3rd grade students at an Asheboro, NC, elementary school. (NRA BLOG)
Kaytlyn Leonard brought the “Eddie Eagle” program to 3rd grade students at an Asheboro, NC, elementary school.

When students are older and more mature, they can take classes (like the one in Missouri) that incorporate a multi-week or semester length program that teaches gun safety and combines it with basic firearm nomenclature, operation, and marksmanship, in a controlled, safe setting.

High school students that express an interest and aptitude could then presumably join school shooting teams, as they have in years past, while those who decide that they have no interest in firearms at least have the education and training to safely handle them if the need arises.

Washington DC High School Girl's Rifle Team with trophy, 1922 (Wikimedia Commons)
Washington DC High School Girl’s Rifle Team with trophy, 1922 (Wikimedia Commons)

Students so educated will be far less likely to have “accidents” that are really the result of compounded negligence. Over time, the educated citzenry could help drive accidental death and injury rates with firearms—which have already been on a multi-decade decline—down to never before seen levels, which should be everyone’s goal.