Arizona moves closer toward NRA safety lessons in classroom

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I’ve long advocated for firearm training to be an integral part of our public school curriculum. In my mind, it should be something students have inundated in them from the start.

In Arizona, a bill seeks to take a huge step forward in that regard. It will put NRA-originated training in the classroom.

Now, that bill is taking the next step.

A Republican bill that would require a National Rifle Association gun safety course for Arizona middle and high school students is now one vote away from Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.

The measure would require all Arizona schools to teach students about firearms safety at least once between sixth grade and the end of high school.

Prescott Valley Republican Rep. Quang Nguyen, the measure’s sponsor, said creating the Arizona Gun Safety Program would help prevent accidental gun deaths among children. The legislation prevents instruction that would teach children how to fire guns or hunt.

“This bill does not put guns in the hands of students,” Nguyen told the Senate Education Committee Tuesday afternoon about House Bill 2448. Nguyen works as a volunteer coach for the Arizona Scorpions Junior High-Power Rifle team and also serves as president of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association.

It doesn’t.

However, sometimes, kids may find themselves with a gun in their hand through some other mechanism. Far too few actually understand just how dangerous a firearm can be.

Look, this doesn’t come close to my preferred curriculum, but I also recognize that curriculum isn’t likely to happen in my lifetime. Too many people at this point are completely unable to process such a thing in our schools.

Nguyen’s proposal is far more mellow, far more palatable for most, and I support it as a huge first step.

While in an ideal world, kids would learn gun safety at home, the truth is far too few of their parents know any gun safety. How can they teach what they don’t know?

Because of that, it’s a good idea to see bills like this pass in as many states as possible.

This isn’t a gun rights or gun control issue. This is an issue of making sure our kids have the tools on hand to know what to do if they’re confronted with a situation where a firearm is involved. It happens. We know it happens. While it’s not exactly the most common thing in the world, it’s still preventable and we should take some reasonable steps to prevent it.

Particularly when we can take steps that will work long-term and make sure future gun buyers have been taught some basic gun safety. That’s a win on literally every level.

And it’s part of why even the gun control types should support it. They want safety training required for gun purchases, then there you go. We give it to them at a point well before they can buy a gun, but when they might actually stumble upon one and do something really stupid.

So, I hope this bill gets signed. Arizona deserves this, as do all the other states.