What should kindergarteners know about guns?
I spent a half hour in early June at my son’s kindergarten class for career day. I spoke about sales, writing, hunting, fishing and gun safety. The NRA introduced me to the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program that teaches kids – ranging from kindergarten to third grade – about gun safety. After all, if I was going to talk to a class full of kids about guns, I had better know what I am talking about. Kindergarteners are taught that when they see a gun to: STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.
Surprisingly about 70 percent of the kids raised their hands when asked how many of their parents own guns. I followed up by asking them what to do if they came across a gun. Not a single child said not to touch it, following the Eagle Eddies rules. One child said, “Put the safety on.” Another said, “Point the gun away from you.” Even my son said, “They have safes for guns.” Most of them were shouting out rules you learn in hunters safety, which was great to know that parents were teaching the kids to respect guns. One the other hand, was it a red flag? Maybe they took my questions the wrong way, which kindergarteners often do. According to the NRA, at such a young age kids should be taught not to touch firearms. It doesn’t matter if you own them, or not. With more than 50 percent of the households owning guns, ALL young children should be taught Eagle Eddie’s rules. Of course, the rules change when the kids get older.
I had a smile on my face thinking about the short time I spent in the classroom. I was not there to teach the kids that guns were bad, or good. I was simply there to promote safety, and encourage the kids to put down the X-Box controller and pick up a fishing pole. Perhaps someone will take them to shoot when they get old enough.
I applaud the teacher, Maureen Buechel, for allowing me to talk about the hunting industry and gun safety. She invited me to come back again next year, and I can’t wait. The kids were a pleasure to talk to and their smiling faces made my week.
To learn more about the Eagle Eddie GunSafe Program: www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/