KC education leader supports mandating gun safety course for 1st graders

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Missouri State Senator Dan Brown of Rolla, Mo., introduced a bill to require mandatory gun safety training in schools for first graders. 

Andrea Flinders, president of the Kansas City American Federation of Teachers, was against the proposal at first -- but changed her mind.

The bill would allow the NRA to come into elementary schools and teach its Gun Safety with Eddie Eagle program.  Bruce Luedeman, NRA certified instructor and owner of Safe Shoot in Independence, Mo., stressed the program is not promoting guns, gun ownership or the NRA.

"We have a person dressed in a costume like an eagle mascot," he explained. "He simply goes into the classroom and tells a story using comic books that teaches children what to do if they see a gun."

"We simply tell the children that if they see a gun, stop, don't touch, leave the area and tell an adult," he said.

Flinders said that when she first heard about the proposal to teach gun safety to first graders, she was against it.

"I thought it was some kind of reaction to Newtown and had something to do with the battle over school safety and guns in schools, and the battle between NRA and gun control supporters," Flinders explained.

But when Flinders saw the video of the Eddie the Eagle Gun Safety program, she changed her mind.

"I realized that it's a simple safety message of don't touch guns, and it's taught on a first graders level," she said.

Some opponents of the proposed mandatory gun safety training believe parents -- not the legislature -- should decide what to teach their children.

But Luedeman explained that some parents are not teaching their children, pointing to recent incidents in the metro where people were injured or killed after kids found a gun.

"If we're not teaching our children gun safety, what they are learning about guns is what they see in video games, movies and on television," he concluded. 

For more information about the NRA Eddie Eagle Gun Safety visit http://eddieeagle.nra.org/.

Children's Mercy Hospital also has information on gun safety at http://bit.ly/X8NMAl.

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