A new law lets Arizona public school students take gun safety courses, but educators are wary of starting them soon, says the Arizona Republic. The voluntary, one-semester elective is among the first in the nation, according to advocates. Many school officials say their budgets and schedules are over-taxed, and offering an elective that doesn’t relate to life skills or state standards isn’t in the cards right away. “While we acknowledge that gun safety is important, more students are killed annually in automobile accidents, and our schools aren’t able to provide driver’s education,” said Craig Pletenik of the Phoenix Union High School District.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is in the process of developing the course’s curriculum. Rex Powers, an art teacher and coach of one of the country’s few high-powered-rifle teams, has seen the self-discipline that working with firearms instills in students. “It’s a good idea because we live in a state where there are a lot of firearms, and learning how to handle them responsibly is important,” Powers said. “But we have enough on our hands. As long as it’s voluntary, it’s great. If it’s going to cost the school district money, I’m not really for it.”