The recent upsurge in the gun control debate revolves around the protection and safety of our nation’s children. When introducing his 23 executive actions, President Obama shared the stage with some of the children who had written the president with pleas of stricter gun laws. However, the NRA has had multiple programs in place to educate and instruct children of all ages on firearm safety as well as programs to increase school security.
One of the NRA’s most well-known programs is the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program. Started in 1988, NRA has taught the program too over 26 million children in all 50 states as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. Child psychologists, teachers, law enforcement personnel, reading and curriculum specialists, and many other experts developed and regularly update the program. The curriculum teaches a very simple plan of action for any child who finds a firearm: “STOP! Don’t Touch! Leave the Area! Tell an Adult.” The NRA does not make the program about safe gun ownership, the joys of shooting, or even use the program as advertisement; rather, they designed the program to instruct children to stay away from guns. The NRA supplies the materials at a relatively low-cost and also offers grants to help defer the costs of the 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 and rates is the best gun accident prevention program in a 2001 study published in the Journal of Emergency Nursing Online.
Recently, NRA CEO and EVP Wayne LaPierre introduced the School Shield Program. The NRA designed the program to screen and train volunteers to serve as school safety officers. The program will also allow for schools to decide on what security measures they feel they need or are in need of improvement. Many detractors of this program say it would make the school less safe or make the school feel like a prison. Growing up in a post-Columbine era, I had an armed
Resource officer in the school from third grade onward; it didn’t make me feel any more vulnerable or scared. In fact, having a guard around the school made me feel safer knowing there was someone in the school who could protect us from a second Columbine scenario or an over-zealous ruffian. Former U.S. Congressman Asa Hutchinson leads the program. He also served as a United States Congressman, the Administrator of the DEA, as well as the Under Secretary of the Border and Transportation Security division of the Department of Homeland Security. Hutchinson stated that his primary focus is to protect the nation’s schools without costing the government great expense.
The NRA also has multiple youth programs that teach gun safety and responsible gun ownership. There is the National Youth Shooting Sport Cooperative Program that offers materials, information, fundraising, insurance, and grant money to the Boy Scouts, 4-H, JROTC, the FFA and many other similar groups. They also sponsor the Marksmanship Qualification Program, the Youth Hunter Education Challenge, and many events geared toward families and youth groups. They give awards for the annual Wildlife Art Contest, Youth Essay Contest, and Outstanding Youth Achievement.
Additionally, the NRA offers a junior-level membership into the NRA.
So, while politicians debate on what to ban—and what not to ban—the NRA is working in your community to educate and protect our children. When debating on whether or not you think the NRA deserves your money and support, think about all they are doing in your community and for the youth in your life.