"Education Is Better Than Legislation In The Battle To Save Children From Guns"

1651 words - 7 pages

EDUCATION IS BETTER THAN LEGISLATION IN THE BATTLE TO SAVE CHILDREN FROM GUNSChildren in America are exposed to gun violence every day, whether it is on TV, computer games, or witnessing a murder while walking through the inner city streets on their way to school. Like it or not, guns are a part of life, and not just here in America. You can find some kind of gun in every country in the world. So how do we best prevent our children from using them on themselves and each other? I propose that education, not legislation, is the best way to save children from guns.Dr. Michael J. Harkness, a children's doctor from Pennsylvania, says, "Learning about gun safety is like riding in a car with a seat belt. You're not afraid to ride, but buckling up can help keep you safe if there is an accident." He also says, "Kids need to understand that guns aren't toys and learn how to behave around them." (Kids Health.com, 2002)Gun accidents involving both children and adults has actually fallen dramatically in the last two decades, almost entirely because of private safety efforts. According to the most recent figures from the National Safety Council, in nineteen eighty-eight, two hundred and seventy-seven children under the age of fifteen were killed by accidental firearm discharges. That number represents a forty-eight percent drop from nineteen seventy-four, even though the number of guns per capita increased. From nineteen sixty-eight to nineteen ninety-eight, the annual rate of fatal gun accidents fell from 1.2 per 100,000 Americans to 0.6. Thanks to private educational efforts, including programs sponsored by the NRA, the Boy Scouts, 4H and other groups, the firearm accident rate has been cut in half. (Kopel, 2002)A 1991 study by the General Accounting Office found that 84% of gun accidents involve deviations from basic safety rules. (Kopel, 2002) For example, accidents occur when people carelessly wave a gun around, thinking it's unloaded, or put their fingers on the trigger prematurely. This further proves that safety education is the best way to continue reducing gun accidents.Another significant piece of information is that the places with the highest rates of gun ownership have the lowest amount of gun related injuries and the lowest crime rates. (Kopel, 2002) These areas tend to be rural areas and small towns, where family structures are relatively strong and communities are more stable and unified.Al Davies, a certified firearms instructor, said programs like "Eddie Eagle" are the best way to stop the misuse of firearms. (Lutz, 2002) "Eddie Eagle" is an elementary gun safety education program the NRA has founded to help educate kids about guns. (Kopel, 2002) It offers curricula for children from kindergarten to sixth grade, utilizing an animated video and cartoon work books. The cartoon hero "Eddie Eagle" offers a simple safety lesson: "If you see a gun: STOP! Don't touch. Leave the area and tell an adult."Some of the foremost authorities in education,...

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