The NRA provides a coloring book for young children, which simply teaches them to not touch guns and to get an adult’s help if they find a gun. The program does not promote or glorify guns, gun rights or the NRA in any way, and does not teach children about how to use a gun at all. However one anti gun parent is opposed to this type of safety education, and is also upset that the NRA is the one providing it. She is the first to complain in the program’s 10 year history with the school district:
Background on the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program
The Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program teaches children in pre-K through third grade four important steps to take if they find a gun. These steps are presented by the program’s mascot, Eddie Eagle, in an easy-to-remember format consisting of the following simple rules:
If you see a gun:
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.
Begun in 1988, The Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program has reached more than 21 million children — in all 50 states. This program was developed through the combined efforts of such qualified professionals as clinical psychologists, reading specialists, teachers, curriculum specialists, urban housing safety officials, and law enforcement personnel.
Anyone may teach The Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, and NRA membership is not required. The program may be readily incorporated into existing school curriculum, taught in a one- to five-day format, and used to reach both levels or simply one or two grades. Materials available through this program are: student workbooks, 7-minute animated video (available on DVD or VHS), instructor guides, brochures, and student reward stickers. Program materials are also available in Spanish.
The purpose of the Eddie Eagle Program isn’t to teach whether guns are good or bad, but rather to promote the protection and safety of children. The program makes no value judgments about firearms, and no firearms are ever used in the program. Like swimming pools, electrical outlets, matchbooks and household poison, they’re treated simply as a fact of everyday life. With firearms found in about half of all American households, it’s a stance that makes sense.
Eddie Eagle is never shown touching a firearm, and he does not promote firearm ownership or use. The program prohibits the use of Eddie Eagle mascots anywhere that guns are present. The Eddie Eagle Program has no agenda other than accident prevention — ensuring that children stay safe should they encounter a gun. The program never mentions the NRA. Nor does it encourage children to buy guns or to become NRA members. The NRA does not receive any appropriations from Congress, nor is it a trade organization. It is not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.
To summarize, this Eddie Eagle program is purely safety related. It does not encourage gun ownership, NRA membership, etc. No guns are used in the program, and children are not taught how to use a gun. Instead, they are taught to never touch a gun and to get an adult if they find one. Its only goal is to keep kids safe if they end up finding a gun in their home or a friend’s home, as uneducated children can end up tragically shooting themselves or someone else.
Nicola Howe’s Problem with the Gun Safety Program
Nicola Howe is a parent whose 5 year old child was educated about gun safety through the Eddie Eagle program at a Garland, TX school. Rather than recognizing that teaching children not to play with guns and to go get an adult is good, she is up in arms about the program and the fact that it is NRA sponsored:
“Not only do I think it’s inappropriate to provide this information to my 5-year-old, but this is a program published by the NRA,” said Nicola Howe
This really boggles my mind. This coloring book does not glorify guns the way that many books, video games, movies and other everyday things do. Instead, it teaches children what a gun looks like, and tells them that if they see a gun to leave it alone and get help.
Nor do I see why this woman has a problem with the NRA providing this program, which was created in connection with law enforcement officers, educators, clinical psychologists, reading specialists, teachers, curriculum specialists, and urban housing safety officials. Again, the Eddie Eagle program does not promote NRA membership, gun rights, or anything else except the very important goal of keeping children safe. Given that the NRA is one of the oldest firearms safety education organizations in the world, it would seem that they are in an excellent position to provide this educational program.
“Gun ownership, control and safety are hot topics as well. It just simply has no place in our school systems,” said Howe.
Once again, I’m really at a loss as to how this woman could hold this viewpoint. First, gun ownership and gun control are not a part of the Eddie Eagle safety program, plain and simple. Instead, only gun safety is addressed, and that is limited to telling kids not to touch a gun and to go get an adult. It is a good thing that this school is teaching children to be safe, and I can’t understand how a parent would not want their kid to know to leave a gun alone if they find one. While I don’t yet have kids, I know that I would want them to know not to play with a gun, an electrical outlet, a bottle of bleach, an open fire, etc. I can only chock this woman’s vocal disagreement with gun safety education up to a case of severe hoplophobia…
My thanks to James for pointing out this news story.