Tennessee Gun Safety Education Bill Goes to Governor's Desk

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

Anti-gun groups often describe themselves as really being about "gun safety." They argue that they don't want to repeal the Second Amendment, they just want to make their communities safer.


Now, I've never believed it, in part because if they were, they wouldn't take issue with the gun safety education programs offered by groups like the NRA. These programs don't push gun ownership or anything else, they just simply teach people how to be safe around a firearm.

That's particularly true of youth safety programs.

Still, despite these facts, they generally get worked up over these efforts, and in Tennessee, they really aren't very happy.

Why? Because a gun safety education bill is headed to the governor's desk.

A bill to require public schools in Tennessee to teach children age-appropriate firearms safety concepts as early as pre-kindergarten is going to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk after a final Senate vote Thursday. 

Members of the Tennessee Senate passed House Bill 2882 in a party-line vote of 24 to 3 on Thursday morning. It passed the House of Representatives in February

If signed, school children would be taught “age-appropriate and grade-appropriate” concepts about guns beginning in the 2025-26 school year. Proponents of the safety concepts training have likened it to mandatory school fire drills. 

“This curriculum would be developed to instruct children on how to properly stay away from a firearm if they happen to see a firearm, and what to do as far as reporting if they find a firearm,” said Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta. 


Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, argued Thursday that the training requirement represents a hurried effort to address the symptom of a systemic problem, and lawmakers should be doing more to address the root cause. 

“Children are already bearing an incredible brunt of the escalation that we’ve seen in gun violence – that is widely reported in our own state government’s data. Data demonstrates that children are increasingly likely to become victims of firearms in homicides, suicides, gun violence, accidental deaths,” Yarbro said. “But rather than deal with the fact that there are firearms that are negligently and recklessly left somewhere by adults, we’re trying to teach children how to deal with that negligence.”


The problem with Yarbo's take on this is the fact that there will likely always be irresponsible adults who leave guns where they shouldn't be, particularly when you consider how quickly a criminal will dump a weapon in order to save his own posterior.

Ignoring this means setting our kids up for being hurt simply because they didn't know any better. This is beyond foolish. No one has ever suggested we shouldn't have fire safety education in schools because parents shouldn't leave the stove on, now have we?

Of course we haven't. That would be beyond stupid.

That's what this gun safety education bill does. It simply stacks the deck to try and mitigate the risks. Why are supposed gun safety proponents so dead set against an educational program that teaches gun safety?

Maybe because they count on those negligent discharges to justify things like mandatory storage laws.

Yarbo wants those laws instead of an effort to try and make our kids safer should they happen upon a gun, so it seems as if he's counting on kids being hurt so he can use those tragedies to justify mandatory storage laws that he already wants.

Now, I can't see into the man's heart. I can only interpret his actions and his words, so I can only hope I'm misreading him.

Either way, it doesn't really matter. Tennessee has passed the bill and it's up to the governor to sign it, which I figure he will.


Meanwhile, all these "gun safety" folks are looking hilarious about being bothered by gun safety education.

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