The final curriculum for an optional class on firearms safety to be taught in Virginia public schools has been approved. It has some serious flaws. For starters, in talking about firearms safety, it raises the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. What does the targeted murder of a political figure have to do with gun safety? That would be like a driver’s education class talking about how car bombs are used by terrorists to blow up innocent men, women, and children! For kindergarten . . .
the curriculum talks about people who legitimately have guns. You know, “Helpers who may use a gun.”
Students will learn to identify individuals in the community who safely carry guns as a part of their job. Activity one entails discussing with students the duties of community helpers and why they would or would not carry a gun. The Code of Virginia § 18.2-308, personal protection; carrying concealed weapons; when lawful to carry, states that those who can carry a gun for their occupation or recreation include law-enforcement officers, licensed security guards, and military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, or any person having a valid
concealed handgun permit or to any person engaged in lawful hunting or lawful recreational shooting activities at an established shooting range or shooting contest.
That’s fine and dandy, but there’s NOTHING in the actual course material about mommy and daddy having a gun for protecting the family. Only “government officials” have guns for a good purpose.
In higher grades, the course becomes “People who use guns to protect.” You guessed it, ONLY government officials are shown. No way a parent would have a gun to protect. They do acknowledge that someone might own a gun for hunting, target shooting, or acting in in a movie.
Click here for a pdf of the course curriculum, supposedly based on the NRA’s “Eddy the Eagle” program. It reads like a watered down, PC version.
The NRA’s wording of the main rules is clearly superior to the VA course material, especially when dealing with children. The NRA teaches gun safety by using short non-verbose and direct commands, like “Don’t touch” vs. “Leave it alone” and “Tell an adult” (vs. “Let an adult know”). Eddy the Eagle becomes Finnegan the Fox.
As part of the program, the course asks this true/false question:
“4. Hunting and sport shooting are responsible reasons for an adult to have a gun. True False”
Again, there is no mention of self-defense as a responsible reason for owning a firearm. How are these children going to look at their parents if they own guns, but don’t hunt or target shoot? Sounds like the answer is “irresponsible.”
The gun safety course course is based on a publication developed by RJK and Associates. Here’s some information on their website:
RJK + Associates was founded by Robert J. Kipper, a native of the Virginia Peninsula and retired Newport News police officer. Robert is a leading expert in community crime and violence reduction with over thirty years of public safety experience.
National Corporate Clients
- United States Justice Department
- International Association of Chiefs of Police
- Institute of Police Technology and Management
- Chicago Police Department
- Broward County Florida Sheriff’s Office
- DARE America
At least three of those clients are heavily biased against the individual right to keep and bear arms. Besides, what specific credentials or experience does RJK and Associates have in firearms safety training? Why didn’t Virginia Department of Education go to an actual Virginia-based authority on gun safety – the NRA – to draft this curriculum?
Looking at other sources used for the curriculum, many are either hostile towards civilian gun ownership, discourage gun ownership, or they deal with unrelated issues like crime and violence. Some examples:
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health [PVC: Bloomberg? You know you just can’t make this stuff up!]
The Center for Disease Control
Virginia Department of Education: Discipline, Crime, and Violence Annual Report
University of Michigan Health System
THIS CURRICULUM IS UNACCEPTABLE. It’s written as much for government indoctrination as it is for firearms safety. I will be contacting the Governor’s Office about this on Monday and I will let you know what actions they plan on taking to fix this flawed curriculum.
If you would like to send an email to Dr. Patricia Wright, the Superintendent of Public Education for the Virginia Department of Education, here is her email: Patricia.Wright@doe.virginia.gov
You should be polite, but firm, saying that you oppose this curriculum for its skewed, unbalanced agenda, and for implying that murders and assassinations are somehow connected with “gun safety.”
Ask why parents aren’t listed as people who use guns to protect instead of just government employees. Ask why a firm which specializes in community violence was chosen to create a curriculum on gun safety, something that is totally unrelated to community violence.
The curriculum was supposed to be centered around the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program; ask why the NRA was not asked to write the curriculum instead.
Thanks to Alan W. Rose for bringing this to VCDL’s attention.