Lawmakers Want Schools to Adopt an Ineffective NRA Gun Safety Program

images[11]Joined by twenty-eight of his colleagues, Michigan House Rep. Bruce Rendon (R-103) thinks he has the solution to preventing gun violence among children. This morning he introduced a resolution (HR – 104 of 2013) that encourages public schools to adopt a video training program developed by the National Rifle Association called the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program. Rendon proposes the training start at the Pre-K level, but says it should start no later than Third Grade. View the video here.

The program has been around for a couple of decades, and has yet to prove to be effective in any way. Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, cites a 2004 study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics which found that, although children could memorize the video, they did not put to use the skills in real life tests. 

Helmke goes on to say the following about Eddie Eagle:

Another study published in the late 1990s by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) noted that Eddie Eagle was like “Joe Camel with feathers,” pointing out that: “The primary goal of the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle program is not to safeguard children, but to protect the interests of the NRA and the firearms industry by making guns more acceptable to children and youth… The hoped-for result is new customers for the industry and new members for the NRA.”

Michigan’s Republican lawmakers have proven they have little regard for science or facts when it comes to legislating, but when their NRA report cards are on the line, even the occasional Democrat can have an attack of willful ignorance.

Amy Kerr Hardin This article also appears in Voters Legislative Transparency Project

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3 Responses to Lawmakers Want Schools to Adopt an Ineffective NRA Gun Safety Program

  1. Brian Henry says:

    I watched the video and I don’t see any way that the video does the following:

    “The primary goal of the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle program is not to safeguard children, but to protect the interests of the NRA and the firearms industry by making guns more acceptable to children and youth… The hoped-for result is new customers for the industry and new members for the NRA.”

    The video doesn’t say anything about guns being good and asking parents to show them how to shoot it. It tells them that if they see a gun, they shouldn’t touch it and tell an adult. What is wrong with that?

    There is an estimated 300 million guns in America. Is your solution to go door to door and inspect every hiding place in every house, business, shack, cabin, cave, and crevasse imaginable and hope that all the guns are confiscated? That doesn’t sound like a realistic option.

    It sounds to me like you are saying, “it doesn’t work so we shouldn’t try”. Which is exactly what the NRA is saying about expanded background checks. What we should be saying is, “how do we make it work?”

    I am a law abiding and RESPONSIBLE gun owner and I have seen many times during my life how a simple gun safety program could have saved lives. Unless you plan on repealing the 2nd amendment and making sure that ALL guns get confiscated, instituting a wide range of gun safety programs would be a great idea.

    • admin says:

      The salient point is that controlled studies show the NRA video training program doesn’t impact behavior, much in the way other kinds of child safety programs don’t translate into kids making wise choices when presented with the danger. At the very least, it’s a neutral cartoon that the kiddies will think is cute, but it could hazardously provide a false sense of security for adults, who really should be thinking more about how they store/handle/talk-about firearms in their homes.

      But, nonetheless what parent would want their kids wasting school instruction time on a program that doesn’t work?

      The NRA on the other hand has made claims that 18 million children are protected by watching Eddie Eagle — a wee bit of a stretch. Nearly all the comments posted to various facbook pages about this article (and there are many) say that parents don’t want the NRA butting into their children’s education — agenda or not, effective or not. The other sentiment being expressed is that these lawmakers are promoting this under NRA lobby pressure, and that’s not a valid reason.

      A larger question is why some people assume that criticism of the NRA, or its proven to be ineffective program, is somehow a second amendment attack. Truly baffling. Does the NRA = 2nd Amendment? In some minds the two are conflated, and that’s exactly what the NRA wants.

      • Brian Henry says:

        I would hardly say that one study is “proof” that the program is ineffective. You and I both know that study results can be biased. The problem is that so many people hate the NRA that they can be biased against them just because of those three initials. I am a member of the NRA and love that part of the organization. The NRA-ILA is the political wing of the NRA and I don’t care much for them. If everyone took an NRA safety program before owning a gun, I believe that accidental deaths in this country would drop dramatically. The NRA has fantastic safety, training, and competition programs that are overshadowed by the NRA-ILA. I don’t remember any reference to the NRA in that eagle video and wonder if it would be such a problem if nobody knew it came from them. The NRA-ILA definitely causes a lot of anger across the country (including myself) but the NRA safety programs are great. Maybe the video can be updated or something new created and a better delivery system can be tried. The updated video could even tell kids to tell their parents to secure their guns. My point is that I don’t see anything wrong with trying to push gun safety to the school systems. We were shown a lot of safety type programs in school, why not guns?

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