In the middle of the national debate on preventing gun violence, Republican lawmakers in Texas and Maine want gun classes added to public schools. Modeled after a National Rifle Association school program for children, similar proposals that claim to enhance “gun safety” have also popped up in South Carolina and Missouri.
According to the Texas bill sponsor, Rep. James White (R), kids are “resilient” enough to handle guns, which he says are no more dangerous than weightlifting or auto mechanics:
“Education, foremost, as stated in our Constitution, is about teaching our people their rights and responsibilities as a free people,” said White, who emphasizes that the most important component of the class would be teaching students the history and importance of the Second Amendment.
You could go to any high school today and you’ll see them engaging in many what we would consider probably dangerous activities: Welding, auto mechanic, weight lifting, playing sports. So our students are not these little fragile beings. They’re very knowledgeable, they’re very resilient and they can handle this.”
Meanwhile, a bill under consideration in Maine — which has drawn support from Gov. Paul LePage (R) — would add an optional gun safety course, potentially paid for by the NRA’s “Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program.” The Maine bill sponsor Rep. Paul Davis (R) claimed this course would manage to prevent domestic violence, by giving would-be victims firearms training. “In these situations, these victims [of domestic violence-related slayings] did everything the law provided,” Davis said. “I have to wonder if they knew anything about guns. I don’t think they did. However, if they did and they wanted to protect themselves, what would have happened?”
Instead of offering NRA-sponsored classes at schools, the ultimate way to protect kids from gun violence is to simply not have a gun lying around. According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, over 86 percent of firearm deaths of children occur at home. Guns in households increase the risk of suicides and homicides, while anecdotal evidence shows how armed guards and armed teachers could go very wrong.