You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Opinion: NRA’s work helps keep kids safe around guns


Amid the sound and fury of the heated national debate over gun rights, one important fact is often lost: accidental firearms deaths are at an all-time low. The chance of a child dying in a firearm accident is literally one in a million. Those figures from the National Center for Health Statistics illustrate how effective gun safety programs have been in recent decades. As a lifelong gun owner, mother, and firearms instructor, I can tell you that education is the key to preventing accidental shootings. I credit one program in particular for the record-low number of accidental shootings among children, the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe program. Over the past three decades, more than 29 million children have learned the basics of how to be safe around a firearm from Eddie Eagle.

Because my husband is a former police officer and we both conceal-carry, we have always had guns in our home, even when our children were little. We kept the guns locked in a gun safe. When the kids were old enough, we took them to the gun range to teach them proper handling of and respect for guns. We always emphasized to our children that guns are a responsibility, not a toy. It’s important for parents to take an active role in teaching gun safety to their children, because too often children see guns in popular culture treated as if they were toys without any serious consequences.

Today, my husband and I own a gun range where we teach children the basics of gun safety with the Eddie Eagle GunSafe program. The message is direct, simple, and easy for children to remember. If you see a gun, stop, don’t touch, run away, tell a grownup. I am convinced those four easy steps have saved countless young lives. But it’s not just gun ranges that offer the Eddie Eagle program, schools and law enforcement agencies partner to teach children in kindergarten through fourth grade.

The Eddie Eagle program makes no value judgments about firearms, and no firearms are ever used in the program. 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.

This kind of safety training is more important now than ever because today guns are found in one out of every four American homes. So even if there are no guns in your home, there may be guns in the homes of friends that your children visit. To ensure their safety, your children must be trained what to do if they encounter a firearm.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidental firearm fatalities among children of the Eddie Eagle program’s targeted age group have declined approximately 65 percent in the last 20 years. This downward trend coincides with an upward trend in gun ownership. Over the past several decades, the number of firearms owned by the American people has risen by more than 200 million.

From my own experience, I know that firearms safety education begins in the home. It is absolutely essential that parents store their guns safely and inaccessible to unauthorized users, especially children. The Eddie Eagle program offers an online brochure, “A Parent’s Guide to Gun Safety,” at https://eddieeagle.nra.org/. The website also includes The Eagle’s Nest, a kid-friendly online resource, the new Eddie Eagle animated short video with sing-along songs and additional activities.

Leslie Deets lives in Roswell, where she and her husband own SharpShooters, USA, an indoor shooting range, training facility and retail store. Deets also owns Concealed Carrie, a line of concealed carry purses and accessories geared toward women.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: Health care is now a right

The Founding Fathers made no mention of a right to health care in the U.S. Constitution, nor did they add it to the Bill of Rights. Those first 10 amendments guaranteed us many important things — the right to free speech and the right to worship the god of our choice, among others — but not a right to health care. Subsequent generations...
World shows way forward on health care

Let’s play a game of guess “who said”: On CNN in 1999: “If you can’t take care of your sick in the country, forget it, it’s all over. … I believe in universal healthcare. About the Australian system similar to Medicare for all: “We have failing...
Opinion: Beltline’s dedicated to increasing affordable housing units

When Atlantans came together a decade ago in a monumental grassroots movement to build the Atlanta Beltline, they had a vision to connect 45 neighborhoods and to revitalize those communities equitably and sustainably. Few could have imagined the level of transformation that has already happened. The Atlanta Beltline makes our city more desirable and...
Opinion: Living up to a lofty ideal

The Atlanta Beltline is an audacious project that’s earned acclaim as users crowd completed portions of the planned 22-mile loop. The trail network and its amenities have kindled jaw-dropping development adjacent to its path. It’s a sign of just how trendy urban living has become, even in a suburb-centric region such as metro Atlanta. The...
A close look at American justice

A couple of weeks ago in this column, I shared with you that I’d received a jury summons in the mail. I was told to call to see if I was required to show up on a Monday morning at the Fulton County Justice Center Tower. Well, I was. And as I headed downtown, I didn’t anticipate the remarkable week I was in for and the indelible experience...
More Stories