August 20, 2019

Putting Firearm Safety Instruction Back in the Schools

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David Trahan, executive director for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, pens his thoughts on why Maine schools should put firearm safety instruction back in schools as a regular part of its curriculum.

Trahan writes: “When I was young, living in Clinton, firearm safety was taught in our town hall.  When hunting season came in the fall, I would carry my shotgun to class, where I would turn it over to my teacher, who would return it at the end of the day.”

Evidently I am a bit older than Mr. Trahan. When I was in school (high school) gym class included a few days dedicated to firearm safety. Class included bringing your gun to school and the teacher taught EVERYONE about proper use and safe handling. I remember practicing with a fellow classmate the proper way to climb over a fence with a rifle whether alone or with someone.

We did not, however, hand our guns over to the teacher until the end of the day. We either put them back in our cars or stored them in the gym locker until after school. We didn’t even consider it necessary to lock up the car or the locker. In those days there was enough respect that you wouldn’t steal and somewhere existed the thought that stealing a gun would likely put your own life in danger when caught.

Things have definitely changed and along with those changes is a loss in the ability to think and reason. Everyone had a gun. Everyone used a gun. Nobody feared for their life because their neighbor owned a gun. Guns were an integral part of life. And on top of all that nobody went around killing other people because they were screwed up in the head.

Essentially the gun has not changed in all these years. What has changed is the culture in which we live. It is immoral, perverse, and abusive to say the least. Our culture breeds violence. Violence is in our music, movies, video games, and books. It saturates all electronic devices. Violent games are rabidly promoted and targeted toward the youth of this country. And yet, in our brainless existence we think we can cure the problem of gun violence by banning the gun. Along with this call for banning, we see and hear other calls for “sensible” restrictions, background checks, banning styles of weapons (like if we ban “assault-style” weapons, like the kind our children learn to use in video games where killing is a measure of success, problems will go away), and an array of other absentminded solutions and never once uttering a claim that something is wrong with the culture that causes the violent acts in the first place.

Not that firearm safety education would be a wrong thing to do, but if we are truly seeking a stop to preventable violence, gun safety instruction, like most “sensible” laws, only target the lawful citizens.

By all means bring gun safety instruction back into all schools. But don’t be fooled into thinking it is a cure for the real issue nobody wants to discuss honestly.

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