Why Iowa should put gun safety in the classroom

(Richard Alan Hannon/The Advocate via AP)

All around us, we’re told that guns are dangerous. A number of people think you shouldn’t be able to buy one without going through government-mandated training–training you have to pay for out of pocket, I might add, thus driving the cost of exercising your Second Amendment up.


Gun safety is important. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s vitally important, and I want every American even considering owning a gun to know what exactly they should and shouldn’t do with their new firearm.

In Iowa, they’re considering putting gun safety in public school classrooms, something I’ve long advocated for, and am thrilled to see it as a possibility.

Yet not everyone is thrilled with this, apparently.

I walked into our Pella studio on a recent morning, and Dave, a friend and co-worker had a question for me before I even had a chance to put my computer bag down.

“What do you think about the gun legislation they’re considering at the Statehouse?” he said, or something close to that.

Like many of you probably are, I’m numbed by all of the mass shootings in America and angry that NRA-influenced Republicans haven’t allowed us to move forward on gun control measures that most Americans want. I know that Republican legislators in every state are working hard to increase Americans’ access to guns in more places, including schools. There have been 145 mass shootings just this year as of April 11. Gun deaths have recently exceeded violent car crashes as the leading cause of the death of American children from ages 1-18.

I don’t remember exactly what I said to Dave, but I probably mumbled that I don’t know much about it; why?

“Republicans want guns at schools, and they also want hunter training in schools. I don’t have guns in my home, and my kids don’t have guns in their homes, yet they want to expose my grandkids to gun culture when neither I, my wife or my kids, and their spouses want that. We don’t want anything to do with it,” he said.

Or something like that. And I’m not a good enough writer to be able to describe how frustrated Dave is.


Maybe it’s just me, but how many people expressing that exact same sentiment about critical race theory or trans issues are told they don’t deserve a say in education?

Anyway, I get the frustration. However, unlike some of the other things we’re told we need to swallow in the realm of education, this actually does transcend parents’ opinions of what kids should be taught.

The reason is that, for better or worse, guns are everywhere. While those who seek to buy firearms can and should educate themselves on gun safety prior to purchasing a gun–and then, hopefully, refresh that knowledge periodically afterward–those people generally aren’t the problem.

The bigger problem is the random inner-city kid who finds a gun in a ditch or stashed in a bush. They don’t know anything about guns. They’ve never had anyone who could teach them how to safely handle a gun. So, they don’t and end up shooting someone else completely by accident.

They could benefit from this kind of training.

Plus, I can’t help but think it may also help with the “wrong place shootings” that I talked about earlier today.

I get that there are people who don’t want their children “indoctrinated” in gun culture, but if you can name a group that better understands actual gun safety rather than just pretending guns shouldn’t exist, I’m willing to listen.


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