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Gun Program for Kids Started Decades Ago

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I was pleased to see Leslie Linthicum’s column describing the children’s gun safety program developed and promoted by Susan Farrand. I was, however, a bit puzzled by the headline “Finally, a Gun Initiative We Can Agree On.”

Finally? Apparently Farrand’s program has been around for a long time. But the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program has been around even longer.

Indeed, the slogan Linthicum mentions — “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell a trusted adult.” — comes directly from the Eddie Eagle curriculum.

Like Farrand’s program, Eddie Eagle has been available for free for years, but there have been few takers.

The Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program started in 1988, and since then the NRA (through local volunteers) has taught the program to nearly 30 million children in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Canada.

Child psychologists, teachers, law enforcement personnel, reading and school curriculum specialists and many other experts developed and regularly update the program.

Eddie Eagle teaches a very simple message to any child who finds a firearm: “STOP! Don’t Touch! Leave the Area! Tell an Adult.” The program is not about safe gun ownership or shooting safely; rather, the program instructs children to stay away from guns.

The NRA supplies program materials (in both English and Spanish) at low or no cost and offers grants to help cover the cost of program materials.

The National Sheriffs’ Association, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Association of American Educators endorses and approves the Eddie Eagle program. It was rated as the best gun accident prevention program in a 2001 study published in the Journal of Emergency Nursing Online.

I invite anyone who is interested in learning about the Eddie Eagle Program to visit our table at the Bob Gerding Outdoor Show, Feb. 8,9,10 at Expo New Mexico. Volunteers — and perhaps Eddie as well — will be there to answer any questions and to distribute free program materials.

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