KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “If you see a gun, STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an adult.”
That’s the message from “Eddie the Eagle” – a gun safety mascot that could be in Missouri first grade classrooms by next summer.
The Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program for students was developed and is funded by the National Rifle Association. Missouri Senate Bill 75 says the program teaches kids what to do if they ever encounter a firearm. It also says children would never come into contact with a firearm while taking the class.
But, some metro residents say they don’t want their kids learning anything about guns.
Aimee Patton, a local blogger and gun control advocate, says the NRA has no place in a classroom.
“I think that having a pro-gun lobby implementing programs in our schools does not effectively deal with our nationwide problem which is mass shootings,” Patton told FOX 4.
Patton says she doesn’t own a gun and doesn’t want her 6-year-old daughter learning anything about firearms. She also says she doesn’t think the program will work.
“The study from the National Institute of Medicine in 2004 showed the only thing that the Eddie Eagle Program did was effectively teach kids a nice jingle – so I think if we’re about funding music in schools, that’s great,” said Patton.
The bill from Rolla Senator Dan Brown requires districts train teachers how to respond to an active shooter on school property. It also mandates the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe program for students. The bill states, “the purpose of the program will be to promote safety and protection of children and emphasize how students should respond if they encounter a firearm” and that “firearms are prohibited from the teaching of the program.”
The NRA says the program works- it says fatal firearm accidents among children pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade have been reduced by more than 80 percent since the program started. The organization also claims that the purpose isn’t to teach whether guns are good or bad.
The bill is currently in committee.