Saying “children are going to encounter firearms, whether we like it or not,” a Kansas lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require all schools to use a National Rifle Association program if they teach gun safety at the elementary level.
The legislation and the program are not without critics, including at least one Southeast Kansas school board member. However, a neighboring school is already using the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program and its superintendent says it has worked well for a number of years.
State Rep. John Whitmer, R-Wichita, says teaching children gun safety should be a top priority, and he has introduced a bill this session that would require Kansas elementary schools offering gun safety courses to use the NRA program.
Kansas school districts are already allowed to teach gun safety education and the legislation wouldn’t force schools to provide it, but the bill would require the State Board of Education to adopt guidelines for such courses requiring ones for kindergarten through fifth grade to be based on the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program. Courses for sixth through eighth grades could be based on the NRA program or the Hunter Education in our Schools program offered through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. It is currently being used in 63 Kansas schools.