OK, so I may be a bit late on this one …
Early this morning, I learned that a handful of lawmakers in the state of South Carolina is looking to mandate a gun safety class and a lesson (or series of lessons) on the second amendment in public schools.
While I have a multitude of issues with the role of government in education (I’m not a fan), I actually think this is a fantastic idea.
As I’ve written in the past, I have no patience for gun owners who don’t respect firearms. Guns are not toys, as any responsible gun owner will tell you. They are not meant to be worn as accessories, like earrings or bracelets, nor are they meant to be used in a way that violates the rights and safety of other citizens.
What a great opportunity to teach kids this important lesson!
Sure, the responsibility of teaching firearm safety and respect should fall on parents. But that doesn’t always happen. And if there are folks who are willing to step in and fill that gap, more power to them. I applaud their efforts.
Of course, I’m sure these proposed bills will meet a lot of opposition. But if approached logically, and without hostility, perhaps some version of these bills could be passed.
A Few Suggestions
Although I do support offering classes in gun safety and the second amendment, I don’t think this should be something that’s offered as just a one-time lesson. Instead, the lesson should be a starting point for a continuing program that could involve everything from gun safety to marksmanship to gun maintenance.
Of course, there’s simply not enough time in the day to include something so involved into a daily schedule. But what a great opportunity for a new and exciting elective. And quite frankly, for a lot of kids, such an elective would serve as a much more important learning experience than forcing them to learn how to take standardized tests that focus more on turning them into good loyal servants of the state instead of the beautiful, creative, intelligent beings they are.
The only suggestions I have are incorporating an opt-out clause for those who just don’t feel comfortable around firearms (although they could probably use such a class more than anyone), and keep politics out of it.
The quickest way to see something like this fail is to turn it into a divisive partisan issue. And I do fear that one of the bill’s clauses, which requires gun-related curriculum be created or approved by the NRA would do just that. Although the NRA is a gun advocacy group, it is also extremely political. If the NRA wants to see this bill or a version of this bill pass, it should serve only as a consultant, and not as a prerequisite.