[Eugene, Oregon] In 2014 firearm instructor Derek LeBlanc had a vision. The national narrative surrounding firearms has changed and continues to change. One thing that cannot be ignored is the importance of education. With that, the educating of our children on firearms. LeBlanc started the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation (Safe Around Firearms Education) to help spread his message. From the foundation’s web page we can glimpse at some of their goals:
Since 2015 the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation has been a leader in the state of Oregon and the nation in regards to children’s firearm safety. We have reached 21,000 kids in Oregon, Washington, Northern California, and Arizona. We have taught them life-saving skills on what to do if they ever encounter a firearm. STOP, DON’T TOUCH, RUN AWAY, TELL AN ADULT!! We teach our kids to swim because we don’t want them to drown. We use this similar approach when it comes to firearm safety. Our firearm safety program is for all kids, not just the kids with firearms in their homes. Children can come in contact almost anywhere, their education is vital. ZERO firearm accidents are the only acceptable goal!!™
The statistic that is posted on their page is that firearm accidents are the third leading cause of death for children in the state of Oregon. LeBlanc’s common-sense approach needs to be saluted, as they compare teaching children how to swim to keep them from drowning, but not everyone teaches children about firearms. The forerunner class they offer, the Kids Firearm Safety Education focuses on removing the mystery, or “novelty”, of firearms and educating children what they are not supposed to do should they come across a firearm.
LeBlanc says the vision of creating the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation just came to him one night while driving, that he needed to “protect the children.” Being from Oregon, he was worried about the stigma that could come along with teaching NRA branded programs, so he created his own foundation. On Friday, April 16, 2021, LeBlanc celebrated the 5th anniversary of the formation of Kids S.A.F.E. Derek’s vision does not just end with educating children in Oregon, the plan is to take his program across the country. I had a chance to catch up with LeBlanc and this is what he has to say:
Right now we are in the final process of the trademarking and copyrighting, and once approved, we plan on reaching out across the country to spread our program. We reached 21,000 kinds and I want to reach 1,000,000. What we do is unique. There’s the education portion, but we also follow up with live fire. We teach the kids good, safe, repeatable habits, so that children can responsibly use firearms under parental supervision.
With every news outlet today buzzing about so-called “gun control”, LeBlanc’s messaging is incredibly important. The progressive agenda always talks about “common sense” and “meaningful” ways to curb the issue of “gun violence”. Through real education about firearms is how we can best arm our society in creating responsible citizens and safer communities. When I asked LeBlanc about how his program fits into the national conversation he told me:
We have meaningful solutions that we can implement right now that can save lives. We’re not talking about overreach. We’re talking about common-sense education which we have seen that works first-hand. We are trying to teach the next generation safety, responsibility, and respect. Our program is about unity…it is not just for the kids that have guns in their homes, it’s for all kids. The future of the Republic depends on teaching the next generation.
The lessons of Kids S.A.F.E. cannot get any more common sense than that. They hold no punches in addressing the important issue of educating our children about firearms and doing so in a manner that will not leave them intrigued by firearms, but rather informed in them. This celebration could not come at a better time in our history, with record numbers of new gun owners and the quiet shift of opinion concerning firearms. One of the common arguments pro-freedom people get when talking about children and firearms is “Well, we don’t have guns in our house, so we don’t have to worry about it.” To that, I always reply “You may not, but do your children’s playmates? How do you know if the parents of those kids do or do not have firearms and that they responsibly store them?” The fact is, none of us really will ever know. Our only option is to educate.
Beyond their Kids Firearm Safety Education class, they offer up three other classes. One that is an in-depth overview on safety training, which is hands-on. Another that includes live fire. And the third acting as a hybrid, blending the two formerly mentioned.
Congratulations to LeBlanc and everyone at the foundation! I, for certain, am looking forward to seeing your next steps and watching your foundation grow, as it moves across America. If you would like to learn more about the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation, you can visit them on the web at: https://kidssafefoundation.org/
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