Children's program promotes gun safety - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Missouri law promotes gun safety awareness with children's curriculum

Gun safety may soon be added to the curriculum of some Missouri first-graders. (Source: Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau) Gun safety may soon be added to the curriculum of some Missouri first-graders. (Source: Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau)

(RNN) - Reading, writing and arithmetic aren't the only subjects school-aged students in Missouri will be learning. Gun safety may soon be added to the first-grade curriculum in some  public schools thanks to a new state law.

Signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon last Friday, the bill-turned-law is designed to "emphasize how students should respond if they encounter a firearm."

It's part of a wider bill aimed at providing training to teachers about how to respond to an active shooter situation.

The Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program is a one-to-five-day program affiliated with the National Rifle Association featuring a cartoon eagle that teaches kids to not touch guns and to alert an adult if they find one.

School personnel and program instructors are not allowed to give opinions about whether firearms are good or bad, and inclusion or use of guns in the curriculum is prohibited.

The NRA says the program does not encourage children to buy guns or to become NRA members. Eddie Eagle is never shown touching a firearm, according to the NRA.

The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Dan Brown, who, according to CNN, is a member of the NRA.

The legislation was prefiled one day before the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December, when six adults and 20 first-grade children were killed at the Connecticut school by a gunman.

The gun safety teaching is optional for schools and not state-mandated.

However, the idea of elementary students learning about guns has some parents apprehensive.

Amy Jordan Wooden, a mother of two, thinks gun safety should stay out of her kids' classrooms.

"I think I'm a lot more interested in teachers and the legislature being focused on math, science and reading for our first-graders instead of an NRA curriculum. I trust the parents to teach the kids properly about the power of guns. That is where the responsibility lies, not in a school curriculum," she told CNN.

Brown said kids who have never been around firearms are more likely to play with them versus children who grew up around them.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told the Senate earlier this year that the program "has taught over 25 million young children that if they see a gun, they should do four things: 'Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.'"

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