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Pueblo school takes kids shooting, making them and society safer

Posted by Richard on March 22, 2014

In a rational world, this story by Katie Pavlich wouldn’t be particularly newsworthy. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is:

School officials in Pueblo County, Colorado are bucking the anti-gun trend and recently approved a field trip for middle school students to a local shooting range where they learned about gun safety and how to properly handle a firearm. The gun safety and marksman group Project Appleseed, an activity of The Revolutionary War Veterans Association, was brought in to instruct students, all of whom fired at the range with live ammunition. The trip was scheduled shortly after students learned about The Revolutionary War in their classrooms.

“We’ve never been allowed to bring actual real firearms into a school. Until this week. This is a very big deal. We had them touching fire arms, holding them and learning about how to handle them safely,” Appleseed Instructor Elizabeth Blackwood told KRDO.

Here is the money quote from student Jonah Statezny, who went on the trip: “I think everyone should learn how to use a gun but learn how to use it properly, and the precautions you’re supposed to take and how serious a gun really is.”

Jonah is pretty wise for a middle school student.

I certainly hope this sort of field trip will become more common in the future, because it will make both our youth and our society in general safer. A study published in 1995 by the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF) tracked 4000 kids in urban Denver, Pittsburgh, and Rochester, NY, over seven years. Vin Suprynowicz summarized the key findings related to whether and how the kids were introduced to firearms:

— Children who get guns from their parents don’t commit gun crimes (0 percent) while children who get guns illegally are quite likely to do so (21 percent).

— Children who get guns from parents are less likely to commit any kind of street crime (14 percent) than children who have no gun in the house (24 percent) — and are dramatically less likely to do so than children who acquire an illegal gun (74 percent.)

— Children who get guns from parents are less likely to use banned drugs (13 percent) than children who get illegal guns (41 percent.)

— Most strikingly, the study found: “Boys who own legal firearms have much lower rates of delinquency and drug use (than boys who own illegal guns) and are even slightly less delinquent than non-owners of guns.”

This wouldn’t have surprised anyone before the rise of the modern welfare state. It used to be common knowledge that the best way to get kids to act “responsibly” was precisely to give them some “responsibility.” Why would we assume a child taught by his parents to use a gun responsibly wouldn’t also be more responsible in his other behaviors?

“Want to dramatically reduce the chance that your child will commit a gun-related crime or — heaven forbid — go on a shooting spree?” asked the national Libertarian Party in a May 21 news release detailing these study results. “Buy your youngster a gun.”

“Politicians are apparently more interested in demonizing guns than they are in facts,” commented LP national director Steve Dasbach, himself an Indiana government schoolteacher. But “The evidence is in: The simplest way to reduce firearm-related violence among children is to buy them a gun and teach them how to use it responsibly.”

As Katie Pavlich said, “This is the definition of a well rounded, quality education. Bravo Pueblo County.”

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