First Graders Get the OK for Gun Safety Courses

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation giving schools the option to teach a gun safety course sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

EDDIE_EAGLEThe new law does not mandate that schools teach the NRA’s successful Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program courses, taught to about 1 million children each year. But the legislation paves the way for schools to do so, should it choose to, and help students learn about firearms safety and other topics covered in the course.

According to this report on, the legislation “also requires school personnel to participate in an “active shooter and intruder” drill led by law enforcement officers.” The bill was introduced on Dec. 13 in the Missouri legislature, the day before the Newtown, Conn., shootings in which 26 students and adults were murdered.

The new law also gives local sheriffs the responsibility for issuing ID cards for concealed gun permits. Previously, that was done by driver’s license clerks. The report said Nixon was asked about the gun safety program for the elementary school students and said, “Allowing the local school districts to make those choices is appropriate.”

The Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program was begun in 1998. It helps children learn about gun safety and what to do if they find a gun, including a video and instruction from police officers serving as school resource officers. The NRA provides the program materials free of charge. More than 20 states encourage gun safety programs in schools; Missouri is one of only a few with laws pertaining to it.

“It’s teaching a great safety message to children that could possibly save their life,” said Eric Lipp, the NRA’s national manager of community outreach.

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