Do Gun Safety Classes Dispel Kids’ Curiosity or Promote Gun Handling?


Houston police officer Karl Pederson sent his daughters, 12 and 9, to Best Shot Camp, a summer camp sponsored by the National Rifle Association that teaches kids as young as 8 how to handle and fire rifles, the Houston Chronicle reports. The six-day camp incorporates the NRA’s Basic Rifle Course into the curriculum, awarding kids with a lifetime certificate. “It dispels curiosity,” Pederson said. “People think, ‘Well I don’t have guns in my house,’ but their friends and neighbors do. You can’t always watch your kids, and if they’ve never been taught about guns, ignorance is a dangerous thing.”

Caroline Brewer of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said gun-education programs don’t dispel curiosity. “We do know from a tremendous amount of research from independent scientists who study the effectiveness of educational programs like the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program, which has been going on for years and years, is that it’s absolutely ineffective from disabusing children from interest in guns and from keeping them away from handling guns,” Brewer said. “And we think that that’s important because eight children in this country die each day from guns and the majority die from guns that they access in their homes.”

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