State Kicks off Gun Safety Education Program for Schools

The Utah program runs about an hour and includes a video and other curricula, designed for grades 5 through 12. (Photo: Screenshot via Utah Attorney General’s Office)

Utah officials this week debuted a program to schools teach firearm safety to students and children across the state.

The L.E.T.S. Stay Safe program is a 50-minute lesson plan that school resource officers and other peace officers can voluntarily deliver to grades 5 through 12 in school districts where the local school board has approved. The program, emphasizing the safe handling of firearms, was developed in conjunction with the Utah State Board of Education, state law enforcement agencies, the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes stressed the program and its 5-minute video does not touch on gun politics.

“The video, I think, illustrates that education can be a powerful tool and it’s important for kids that are the focus of our L.E.T.S. program to know the proper way to think about and react to an encounter with a gun,” said Reyes, a Republican.

The initiative came about after a 2016 bill, S.B. 43, that was easily approved by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert.

“We have thousands of parents and thousands of children in Utah who use guns responsibly and grow up around guns and know how to use guns,” explained state Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, the bill’s sponsor. “But likewise there are thousands of children and thousands of families that have never talked about guns.”

As noted by the Associated Press, the program was developed by Kalkomey, a Texas-based recreational safety company that has a long track record in producing handgun safety and hunter education courses.

Utah is not the only state to expand gun safety education offerings to schools in recent years. IowaIllinois, Louisiana, and Minnesota have all moved to add either hunter’s ed or firearms safety to public schools through a variety of programs.

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