Bill would Provide Gun Safety Class to 1st Graders

A Republican-backed proposal set for a committee hearing in the Oregon Senate would offer gun safety classes to first graders in the state.

The bill, SB 801, is set for a public hearing Wednesday in the Senate Education Committee. It would authorize firearm safety and accident prevention class to all students in first grade.

“Even if you don’t believe in guns, and don’t have them in your homes, that doesn’t mean your child won’t eventually be somewhere where they find one,” said Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, one the bill’s chief sponsors, told Oregon Live.

Under Knopp’s bill, which would apply to each school district and public charter school, the voluntary classes would be offered yearly and last for at least a half-hour. Delivered by a teacher, school administrator, law enforcement officer or first responder, the course would cover the proper steps for youth to take when encountering an unsecured firearm as well as the differences between violence in video games versus real-life.

With a mandate to be “non-political,” schools must provide a notice to parents at least a week before the class is scheduled and allow them to opt-out their children.

The idea behind the bill came from Derek LeBlanc, president of the non-profit Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation in Eugene, Oregon, which aims to reduce firearm accidents to zero. “This mission is bigger than us, it’s about protecting the children of Oregon,” said the group, who will be on hand in Salem for this week’s hearings.

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