California Schools Send “Firearm Safety Fact Sheet” Home With Kids
Russ Chastain 08.20.14
Has something reasonable about guns come out of California? You decide.
The Sonoma County, California school board has created a “Firearm Safety Fact Sheet” intended to inform parents and student about guns and their safe handling. Created in the wake of last October’s police killing of a young boy wielding a toy AK, its creators hope to prevent similar incidents in the future.
In a local article about this, one school board member said, “We wanted to keep the politics out of it. This is all about information, safety for kids.” Another said, “We decided we have the resources, we have the ability to reach a lot of people, and if we can save one life, it’s so worth it.”
Strongly stressed in the sheet is the possible danger that fake guns can bring. It says that toy guns should only be used under adult supervision, should always be stored and carried in a case, and shouldn’t be modified. (The toy AK carried by last year’s victim was lacking the orange tip that often differentiates toy guns from actual firearms.)
Schools in the district aren’t required to distribute the sheet. Some will provide it in a back-to-school packet, while others plan to send it later in the year. At least one district posted it online.
Topics of the firearms facts sheet include:
- Store Firearms Safely
- Know the Legal Risks
- Talk to Children About Firearms
- Supervise Use of Imitation Firearms
- Be a Good Role Model
- Educate Yourself
Overall, I think this is a good idea, although I would have edited the sheet here and there.
I am 100% in favor of safe firearms storage, but I do not agree with the assertion that all guns in the house should be locked up and unloaded, with ammunition stored separately. There is nothing more worthless than an empty gun when a threat presents itself, and I believe I would rather have no gun than an empty gun. If someone starts shooting because they see a gun in your hand, you’d better be able to shoot back.
Talking to kids about guns is absolutely essential. My father taught us about guns early. He always made it clear that we could handle them ONLY under his supervision and that we could ask him to do so at any time. That took away the air of mystery that many people perceive regarding guns.
As for imitation guns, I certainly played with plenty of toy guns when I was a kid. How sad that we must now tell children to hide them so they won’t be shot by police?
What do you think? Is it a good or bad idea for schools to discuss guns with parents and students?