#1 By: Rob Beschizza, August 13th, 2013 11:42
#2 By: Dioptase, August 13th, 2013 11:53
The gun safety training is actually rather good. It doesn't teach how to use a gun. It teaches kids to not touch guns and tell an adult.
I think the mascot is silly. But hey, if it helps some kid not play with a gun, whatever.
#3 By: Rob Beschizza, August 13th, 2013 12:20
Sure, but that's not what the classes are for.
It's not the child's responsibility to be gun-safe. It's the responsibility of parents and adults to ensure that children are not exposed to guns in ways that could harm them. The purpose of these classes isn't gun safety--it's to normalize firearms in the school lives of children who aren't already exposed to them at home. This is why the NRA chose the word "victory" to describe the law's passage.
The world would be a better place if we instead had first-grade alcohol safety classes, lobbied for and declared a "victory" by Diageo.
#4 By: yadayada, August 13th, 2013 12:23
Except it doesn't work. There was a test done where children were told explicitly not to touch a gun, and then placed in a room with an easily found gun. Guess what? They touched it. They picked it up. They played with it.
#5 By: yadayada, August 13th, 2013 12:27
P.S. they're going to start teaching gun safety to first-grade schoolchildren in Missouri.
Well that's good news. If the instructors are as good as the one in the lead article it will save the children the troubling of shooting each other.
#6 By: johncwoo, August 13th, 2013 12:28
So the alternative being that we just hope and pray that a child will know what to do when they do encounter a firearm while unsupervised.
#7 By: Rob Beschizza, August 13th, 2013 12:50
The alternative is that parents and adults ensure that children are not exposed to guns in ways that could harm them.
You cannot push this responsibility onto children. They are children. It doesn't work. Children are stupid.
It's like stranger-danger ads. They make us feel better, and they might help a little, but they blind children to the fact that abusers are usually known to their vicitms, and fill their world with unproductive anxiety. It serves a fear that doesn't correspond well to danger, just as first-grade gun classes serve a business whose interests don't correspond to safety.
#8 By: Aaron, August 13th, 2013 12:52
It need not be an either-or situation. Adults are already (ostensibly) responsible for keeping children away from guns, but they are not infallible. Why not also teach children that touching guns while unsupervised is dangerous?
#9 By: Aaron, August 13th, 2013 12:55
There's a bit of a difference between "told not to" in that study and "received child-specific training not to".
We teach kids not to run out into the street, we teach them not to get into cars with strangers, we teach them not to do all kinds of other things that you could easily say that a world of kind, caring, responsible adults wouldn't allow them to even consider, but here we are.
#10 By: Rob Beschizza, August 13th, 2013 12:59
You don't need a gun safety class in schools to say that. They're not a special class of dangerous thing more deserving of a "class" than poison safety, knife safety, animal safety, water safety, road safety and so on. Gun safety would, reasonably, be part of a general civic safety class.
But no, there are gun safety classes, lobbied for by the companies that sell guns, because making a big thing out of that gets kids into the guns.
#11 By: Tristan, August 13th, 2013 12:59
Its entirely sensible to teach gun safety to children. Just as you teach basic electrical safety (don't stick your fingers in plug sockets), or road safety, or not to fly a kite near overhead wires, or not to play on the railway tracks.
Or are guns so evil that the usual sensible Boing Boing ideas of letting children be children and not to isolate them from the world inapplicable?
True, guns should not just be lying around, but children may well come across a gun. Its better that they know not to treat it like a toy and play with it.
This is not about passing responsibility onto children (who are not stupid - that is an awful attitude by the way), but giving children some information about how they can stay safe.
#12 By: Tristan, August 13th, 2013 13:03
Well, they should be general safety taught by parents and teachers, but obviously they're not if there appears to be a need for it.
What got me is that you started off arguing that children should not have any gun education, only now you bring up the idea that this is some nefarious plan by arms manufacturers.
Frankly, if this saves one child's life, its probably worth it. If it enstills respect for firearms as dangerous items, and eases glorifiation of guns, in a generation of children then its definitely worth it (granted it my not do that).
#13 By: Shay Simmons, August 13th, 2013 13:11
When my father first taught us how to handle firearms, his first rule was: The gun is always loaded. Treat it as such. Don't believe anyone who tells you it is unloaded. Don't rely on your memory. It's ALWAYS loaded.
This rule would have stopped one of my brothers from accidentally putting a round through another one of my brothers, had he bothered to remember it.
#14 By: Kevin Prigge, August 13th, 2013 13:19
There are four rules for gun safety,
1) All guns are always loaded.
2) Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3) Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
4) Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
You have to break at least two of the rules to shoot someone negligently. (There
are very few "accidents" when it comes to safe gun handling).
#15 By: Rob Beschizza, August 13th, 2013 13:19
I didn't say there should be no gun education at all, just that it's not the child's responsibility to be gun-safe, and that the classes don't serve that end anyway.
#16 By: Remus Shepherd, August 13th, 2013 13:25
My question is how is gun safety taught, and specifically does it answer why a child shouldn't touch a gun.
As a child whenever someone gave me a rule I wanted to know 'why' -- and if they didn't give me a reason, then I just had to find out myself. Do they tell children what could happen if they shoot someone or got shot? Do they show pictures of gunshot wounds? Is the training grisly like a driver's safety video, or rote like check writing class. (Yes, I failed 'check writing' in high school social studies. "Why do I have to sign the check there?")
#17 By: Aaron, August 13th, 2013 13:27
Calling this a "class" is pretty generous. It's a couple videos and talking points for the teacher, I'd doubt it gets more than 4 hours of classroom attention over the course of a week.
Poison safety, animal safety, water safety, and road safety are all (at least in my experience) already covered in schools. I don't have stats, but I'd wager that number of guns per capita in Missouri might warrant adding gun safety to that list there.
#18 By: yadayada, August 13th, 2013 13:50
And yet somehow a gun safety instructor managed to shoot one of his students.
#19 By: Martin Pedraza, August 13th, 2013 13:50
Or, you could, you know, regulate gun laws so you don't need to teach your first graders to avoid accidentally killing someone. But no, FREEDOM!
Yeah. You keep your pretty guns!
#20 By: yadayada, August 13th, 2013 14:02
Found the abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11943968
It was a week long course.
. . . there was no difference in gun-play behavior between those
children who did and did not receive the intervention.
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