With all the recent shootings in the news almost everyone is pushing for more gun control. Though I don’t necessarily agree with some of the laws being passed, I do agree that gun safety should be taught in schools. If we are teaching our youth about other life topics like drugs and sex, then why not teach them about firearms. There are currently two organizations teaching gun safety, STAR and Eddie Eagle witch is put on by the NRA. It is important that our children are well rounded and know what to do in an emergency situation. That’s why we have fire and earthquake drills. In the 1950’s and throughout the cold war we had drills in school in case there where ever an attack by nuclear weapons on the United States.  We adapted to the times back then, and we need to adapt to the time right now.  We already have drills in place at schools in the event a shooting happens, but if we educated our youth on gun safety and what to do in the event that they saw someone with a gun then we could help prevent some of these shootings.

A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that on average nearly one thousand three hundred children died from gunshots each year while another five thousand seven hundred and ninety are treated for gunshot wounds (Fowler). Boys, older children, and minorities are disproportionately affected. In total from 1840-2015 there have been 420 shooting deaths and 558 shooting injuries at educational institutions (PARADICE, 141). From 1990-2014 there have been 190 school shootings (DUPLECHAIN). Something has to change and it starts with the schools. Some schools have begun the process of teaching gun safety, but it is not currently mandatory.

Another problem schools are having is on the way that they go about teaching it. There are two main organizations offering classes on gun safety, the NRA with Eddie Eagle and STAR or straight talk about risk. Eddie eagle is a cartoon character that teaches kids “Stop, don’t touch, run away, tell a grownup” in the event they come across a gun (Eddie Eagle). While this method would seem effective, by using a cartoon to get down to the children’s level it may be conveying the wrong message. Some think that by telling kids to stop, don’t touch, run away, and tell a grownup that it only glorifies guns even more. By making it a taboo subject or something that only adults can do only makes children even more interested.  We need a different approach; children should learn the ins and outs of firearm safety, and should be introduced to an actual firearm at the appropriate age. This can help demystify gun to our children. If it is just another everyday tool that is to be respected and used only in the necessary circumstances then we would have a lot less shootings.

That’s where STAR or Straight Talk About Risk comes in, they are an organization that teaches and helps kids practice gun safety. STAR has the children role play teaching coping mechanisms for anger and fear, as well as teaching competence and leadership roles when it comes to gun safety (STAR). I feel that this program would be more effective by teaching what actually matters. If our children know what the outcome could be if they picked up that gun and accidently shot a sibling or friend then it will deter them from doing so. Anger and fear management are another big perk that this organization had to offer, teaching our youth what to do when they are angry or afraid is very important. This alone could stop school shootings. If our kids know how to cope with anger and fear then they will make better decisions and make them without clouded judgment.  When I was just a kid in grade school I got in trouble often. I had a temper, so my mom sent me to counseling. Though I hated going and felt like it was a waste of time, I feel like it helped me in the long run. As I moved up through the grades I got in less trouble each year. It was almost like a contest for me to see how good I can be. My mom did her part as well, if I ever got upset while doing something at home and I was able to control my temper. Then she would reward me with an ice cream at the end of the week.

If learning to control my temper helped me get on the straight and narrow at a young age, then I believe it can help today’s youth as well. Being able to just walk away from a situation and not escalate it a big deal. Especially once our youth grow up and the consequences become more serious. The same goes for fear, knowing what to do when you are scared and in a serious situation can be life or death. Teaching our kids about these situations arm them with knowledge, knowledge that can save their life or others. Firearm safety is something that needs to be taught in schools. A simple integration of STAR and Eddie Eagle is what our children need. It would teach them all the coping mechanisms they would need as well as teaching them what to do in an emergency. All to be delivered in a kid friendly format until our youth become of age to see what gun violence and accidents cause. It will make our country a safer place and let our kids grow up without as much violence.

Now some people might argue the exact opposite that teaching our kids how to use and take care of guns might only arm them. But couldn’t you also make that same argument for drugs and sex? We still teach those subjects because they are vital to our development and I would argue that teaching firearm safety should be on that same list. Knowing how to defend your self is a survival basic, and that’s what we resort back to in an emergency situation.

 

Works Cited

DUPLECHAIN, ROSALIND and ROBERT MORRIS. “School Violence: Reported School Shootings and Making Schools Safer.” Education, vol. 135, no. 2, Winter2014, pp. 145-150. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=100464126&site=ehost-live.

 

Eddie Eagle. “Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program.” NRA Explore, eddieeagle.nra.org/.

Fowler, Katherine A., et al. “Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States.” Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 19 June 2017, pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/06/15/peds.2016-3486.

 

Fowler, Katherine A., et al. “Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States.” Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 19 June 2017, pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/06/15/peds.2016-3486.

 

PARADICE, DAVID. “An Analysis of Us School Shooting Data (1840-2015).” Education, vol. 138, no. 2, Winter2017, pp. 135-144. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=126936152&site=ehost-live.

 

“Straight Talk About Risks (STAR), Center to Prevent Handgun Violence — Washington, DC.” Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/gun_violence/profile54.html