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Dan Baum, author of Gun Guys: A Road Trip, got his hands on a letter and ‘safety fact sheet’ (after the jump) that the Sonoma County Schools sent out to parents before this new school year began. The fact sheet covers topics like safe storage, being a good role model by practicing safe gun handling and talking to children about gun safety. Dan writes, “I find it respectful and informative — no more challenging to rights than, say, a fact sheet about protecting kids from the flu.” You?

Sonoma Firearms Safety Fact Sheet.pdf


Sonoma Firearms Safety Fact Sheet.pdf

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  1. If ALL school systems could be trusted to present the info in a non-political manner, as done above, then yes, it would be a good thing.

    The chances of that happening, however, are about the same as the chance of me being struck by lightning, right…now.

    See? Didn’t happen.

    I also wonder how many of the “teens” listed in their stats were actually 18 or 19 years old, otherwise known as “adults” to non-gun-control people and organizations.

    • Here are the links from the bottom of the second page, retyped so they can be copy/pasted or used as hotlinks, and a quick summary of each.
      Decent set of slightly over-the-top safety rules.
      A dozen tips for parents to “stop school violence”. But how realistic is it to be asking certain inner-city parents to “Act as role models. Settle your own conflicts peaceably and manage anger without violence.”?
      Again, generally sound but slightly over-the-top and/or questionable safety info. Example: “Kids should not put caps for toy guns in their pockets because these can ignite due to friction and cause burns and loud noises that can damage hearing.”

      I also confirmed that the total death info includes 18 and 19 y/o adults; that’s the only way to get that total for the included years and causes. If you limit it to true “children” (0 to 17 y/o), numbers are cut by 40%, to 35, for the same period.

      • my first thought was to chase those down, too. seems the ncpc is run by a former janet reno employee since 2009, so theres that. what/who else does sonoma county mean by “the firearm safety community”?

        • It appears as if the middle section “Talk to children about firearms” was taken from NRA’s Eddie the Eagle firearm safety program. Those four steps are word for word from that program. Looks like they just didn’t want to link it on the bottom, maybe in an attempt to appear politically neutral? Or they didn’t realize that’s where it came from when they saw it elsewhere.

    • I don’t’ totally agree with the premise of your statement. The safe storage bit necessarily including having the ammo separate from the gun I see as highly political. But the way it’s presented is pretty neutral overall. It’s certainly not a piece of propaganda any gun owning parent would have a hard time correcting for their children.

      • That whole thing about ammunition being in a location other than the firearm has been warped from its real meaning, “Don’t just put your loaded gun in a box in your closet and assume it is safe.”

        Now, MDA and their ilk think it means, “Don’t ever ever ever have ammunition in your house, it may magically float into the gun and go on a spree killing.”

      • Yeah, I think this sheet is fair in that it’s alerting people to the law. It doesn’t comment on the law at all, just lets people know that’s how it is. Frankly, you’d need some cheat sheets to navigate about any activity in CA with all the weird legal crap people deal with there.

  2. The stop, don’t touch, leave the area, tell an adult part is straight out of the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program.
    Do you think they could acknowledge that little tidbit?
    Provide a link?

    I think they should STFU, or also include letters about pools, bath tubs, cars, teen drinking and drugs, etc…

    • Why should they “STFU” as you put it? This is a step in the right direction, and if they didn’t acknowledge the NRA program that’s trivial in comparison to a school system actually giving out reasonable information about gun safety with no anti–gun bias.

    • You’ve got that exactly pegged. Don’t forget “hammers”, which are used to kill more people than firearms.

    • Exactly what I was going to say: I have no problem with this whatsoever, but if the goal is really about reducing accidental deaths of children, it should be accompanied by “fact sheets” for cars, swimming pools, and bath tubs.

    • Some schools promote teen sex by putting condom machines in them so why not a class on gun safety that the student must pass to graduate?

    • So, I am a Sonoma County resident and ’06 grad from Santa Rosa High School, so I’m saying this with first hand experience.

      Sonoma County schools actually have VERY strong anti-drug/gang/drunk driving programs, it was quite a bit of a problem in the high schools in the 90’s so there were some very good programs started.

      The gang problems have been a bit of a problem in the last couple years post 08′-09′, we have a very large division of wealth here in SC, quite a bit of old and new money types around here, as well as a lot of 1st/2nd generation immigrants due to our extensive agriculture business in the area. So things can get kinda strained here, even though we generally have the ability (tax revenue) to deal with things.

  3. As opposed to the current trend of acting like gun is a 4 letter word? compared to the typical pop tart hysteria its f*cking revolutionary

  4. The four safety rules should be taught. Early. Leave the questionaire “Do your parents have guns at home?” in the trash can.

  5. How about reinstating rifle clubs, shop classes, home economics, AND FREAKING DODGEBALL ! The destruction of American culture, real American culture, has permeated the educational system. Sadly I don’t think you can crowbar a million brainwashed teachers and administrators and school boards out in even 20 or 30 years. The next couple of generations of students are simply lost.

    • I freakin’ loved dodgeball. We were never taught the 5 D’s, though, and I also never learned to dodge wrenches.

      • What a great training tool. You wouldn’t have to get wrenched too many times before you learned to dodge those 15/16 bastards!

        • Pshhh, you obviously never played dodge-ball with my grandpa the retired steam engineer, he has sets of 3 foot long 2-4″ crescent wrenches, and pipe wrenches you could fit your bicep into. Dodge one of THOSE.

          • Those are too expensive to throw! The normal “big” wrenches we use are 36″ and 48″ pipe wrenches for use on drill rods & casing. I prefer the aluminum 36″ over the steel 48″, but the hydraulic breakout wrenches are much nicer 😉

  6. Hell yeah! As long as the topic remains based in safety and excludes political bias. I would love to see high school shooting teams too but that might take a while…

  7. In my Jr High School, in Alberta in the 1980s, we had a Hunter Education course that covered gun safety.

    • Yep, in my High School we had a Skeet Team, of course that was in the Seventies in East Tennessee. I remember Kathy the team captain, she was nice looking!

        • Those were different times.

          In the 80s I was able to take a hunter safety course as part of my psy ed requirements. And this wasn’t in a rural area either, it was in an urban left-leaning suburban school district.

    • My high school had a rifle club. That was in the early 60s in freakin’ New York City! The school once had a rifle range in the basement, but before I started at the high school it had been converted for some other use — library expansion or swimming pool expansion or something equally nonpolitical.

  8. I do not see a problem with this letter. I have school age nephews and nieces and the schools also send out similar letters for bicycle safety(for whatever reason, CT leads the nation in motorcycle and bicycle accidents) every year.

    Having been an assistant watching someone teach the Eddie the Eagle program, I too think that there should be acknowledgement of the program as Tom in Oregon stated above if not the actual class taught in grade school. If you are going to steal the concepts, you should at least acknowledge it.

    I have no problem if a letter of similar format was sent out by every school every year as a reminder just like many schools send out summer safety tips reminders.

    I rather have money spent on these types of mailings than another stupid law passed.

    I have no problems with this simple reminder, one of the gun clubs I belong to has Eddie the Eagle safety tips (and the 4 rules) on the back page of the monthly club newsletter — I do not see the problem.

  9. That mailer, along with maybe even a 1 or 2 day demonstration as part of a health class would be OK. No mention of the NRA – that group is composed of nothing but far right ideologies and then you open up a huge can of conservative worms.

    • Jesus?

      The Stop! Don’t touch! Leave the area! Tell an adult!

      Is VERBATIM the NRA Eddie Eagle message.

      • Exactly. When you do that on a school assignment, it’s called “plagiarism” and you get in trouble for it.

        And Jesus, NRA used to be strictly marksmanship and safety. The statist politicians pushing anti-2A laws are what prompted NRA to change course. Curse them all you like, if it weren’t for the NRA this site would be the Truth About Knitting…

    • ** “…that group is composed of nothing but civil rights ideologies and then you open up a huge can of liberal anti-rights worms when you side with the NRA (and by extension real Human freedom).

      FIXED that for you, REgressive anti-liberty troll. You’re welcome.

  10. The problem with this letter is that it still treats guns like poison.

    A car safety booklet for instance would have rules on safe driving as well as rules about keeping kids away from playing in cars alone etc.

    In other words, ‘Where are the guidelines for teaching kids to operate a firearms safely? you know, about not pointing guns at people/animals, and treating all guns as loaded and keeping fingers off triggers.

    This isn’t just a glaring omission for political reasons, it’s a glaring SAFETY omission. If a kid does put his hands on a gun unsupervised, then knowing to keep their finger off the trigger or not point it at their friend might be the thing that saves a life.

    But, no. No mention of how to safely USE a gun because guns are evil.

    EDIT: Yes, there is a little bit at the end of the letter about setting a good example of gun handling for kids, but that’s still below what’s needed: active teaching of safety in handling guns. Gun operation rules are not incompatible with the NRA rules listed earlier in the letter about stopping, leaving and telling an adult.

    • Your concerns are noted, but to be truthful with you, I think I’d rather do this myself or hire an instructor of known quality to do it, vs. leaving it to the Nation/State. Far less chance of getting politically-biased info that way.

      Here are the links from the bottom of the second page, retyped so they can be copy/pasted or used as hotlinks, and a quick summary of each.
      Decent set of slightly over-the-top safety rules.
      A dozen tips for parents to “stop school violence”. But how realistic is it to be asking certain inner-city parents to “Act as role models. Settle your own conflicts peaceably and manage anger without violence.”?
      Again, generally sound but slightly over-the-top and/or questionable safety info. Example: “Kids should not put caps for toy guns in their pockets because these can ignite due to friction and cause burns and loud noises that can damage hearing.”

      I also confirmed that the death info includes 18 and 19 y/o adults; that’s the only way to get that total for the included years. If you limit it to true “children” (0 to 17 y/o), numbers are cut by 40%, to 35, for the same period.

    • Jumbie, that first link ( ) has a few general handling guidelines. Take a look at them, let us know what you think.

      • Those are exactly the rules I think should be taught. But the letter leaves it to be learned by example setting rather than asking parents to explicitly teach them to kids.

        For one thing, a non-gun owner can’t teach by example. But their kid would benefit a lot from being prepared on those six rules.

        Teaching ‘stay away’ and not teaching handling is like abstinence only sex-ed. Lots of people oppose condom training and condom availability as being encouragement for kids to become sexually active and anti-gun parents might see handling training as being encouragement for their kids to use guns, so I understand it’s potentially controversial.

        Still, abstinence-only sex ed has the largest instance of teen pregnancy. With guns, a negligent discharge will result on a lot worse than a pregnancy, so it seems non-prudent to leave off the ‘hands-on’ portion of safety training.

        • Well, as many have already mentioned, the “leave the area” stuff is part of the Eddie Eagle program, which is intended for pre-K-through-third-grade children. As long as they are not teaching “guns are eeeeeevil”, I don’t necessarily think gun-abstinence, when a parent or guardian is not present, is a bad idea for this age group.

        • I brought up Youtube and sought out Eddie Eagle. It was actually cloying, and Eddie did seem to be treating guns as scary. I simply couldn’t stand to finish it.

  11. This is the type of conversations we need to encourage with our learning institutions. I applaud their efforts to weave firearm ownership into todays reality.

  12. An endorsement by Dan Baum automatically makes me suspicious. Besides, the number one cause of violent childhood death in Sonoma County is automobile accidents. Which is why many schools who actually care about student safety have driver safety courses taught by certified instructors. If the County really took “the issue of firearm and imitation firearm safety very seriously,” it would be offering firearm safety training courses taught by NRA certified instructors.

    • Heh, that was my first thought too- what does Dan Baum need now?
      New book he is flogging?
      Some page views for his next free-lance gig?

      But then, I thought, naw…dont be a snark. Dan is actually a pretty good writer, and except for a tiny bit of liberal snark in his book about the gun guys… ( I think he was genuinely surprised we aren’t all hillbilly’s with KKK hoods in the closet – well ok Dan, that was hyperbole but you get my drift- you admitted gun guys were pretty cool, actually…)

      and despite his continuing silence about the complete and utter failure of the Progtard Narrative on Guns,
      I think he is ok, and who knows, maybe we will see a David Horowitz conversion. Stranger things have happened, although I think its mostly true that you can’t teach old (liberal) dogs new tricks, I do still have hope for him. We’ll see.

      Seriously, we do have some “classical” liberals here, and I respect their views. I’m just going all Rushian on Dan, in the ill liberal appropriation of that label, that has been rebranded to Progressive, once most caught on to the meme.

  13. Personally, I think that gun safety is a topic that I am not willing to trust the liberal academic community to handle fairly. I’d be more content if they completely left it alone.

    However, I am sophomorically amused by the picture at the top of this article. “Analy” seems like an unfortunate name for a high school. I can just hear the chants and catcalls from the opposing team at football games…..

    • Actually, those don’t usually come around. Analy tends to be one of the top contenders in the county for football, baseball, and basketball every year.

  14. Absolutely. Even if for no other reason than because the odds are high that someday they will come across a firearm (considering that there is roughly one gun in circulation for every citizen in America), and they should know how to safely handle it. In addition, I think that, not only should gun safety be taught, but marksmanship as well. Hell, shooting is a blast, and it could easily be a privilege tied to academic performance.

    However, I recognize that this will NEVER happen, at least not in the way I’m envisioning. I also think general combat skills should be taught in school. Self-defense is a basic human right and every human should at least have rudimentary skill to use whatever tools they have at their disposal to defend themselves (guns, fists, etc). But this is even less likely than reasonable reactions from school administrators (“You want to teach people how to be VIOLENT?! What the hell is WRONG WITH YOU YOU MONSTER!”).

  15. There’s really nothing wrong with the attached pamphlet, it is just plagiarized nearly wholesale from the Eddie Eagle program. But if I were a parent with guns in the house my first reaction would be to toss this letter in the trash and reinforce to my children that your only answer to any question from any administrator or teacher as to whether our household has firearms is “Guns? What guns?” My next move would be to look into homeschooling if I wasn’t already doing that to start with.

    There’s no reason for public schools to lecture anyone on the matter of gun safety knowing that most of the staff have never handled a gun in their lives and view them as demonic objects to start with. The subtext is writ pretty large here even behind the inoffensive language.

  16. No. The public schools cannot be trusted to handle gun safety competently, let alone objectively.

    Let them focus on fixing and teaching the basics. Then maybe we can talk about expanding their mission. In the meantime, allowing the NRA to bring in Eddie the Eagle is sufficient. Schools that balk at Eddie, which is 100% apolitical, simply reveal their true agenda, which has nothing to do with safety.

  17. Dear Mr. Superintendent,

    When your government school “education” product rises to “mediocre’ then worry about “gun safety”.

  18. I recently attended a panel discussion including the Sheriff of Cape May County in NJ. An armed-robber tossed his gun. A child found it and shot another child. This tragedy inspired him to call upon all the elementary schools in his County advocating the adoption of the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program; they responded to his urging and implemented the program.
    Once parents realize that they can NOT prevent their children’s encountering guns under some unexpected circumstances they should realize that gun safety education has a proper role. Then, the next question is whether to assume the responsibility for designing the educational program; or, to adopt the standard already in-place. Self-preservation from criticism should advise in favor of adopting the standard.

  19. I favor a generalized safety seminar that covers all major causes of accidental injury/death … with age appropriate content of course.

    Review basic chemical hazards (like mixing chlorine and ammonia).
    Review water safety.
    Review pedestrian and bicycle safety.
    Review life-threatening allergic reaction safety.
    Review electrical hazards.
    Review firearm safety.
    Review power tool and compressed gas safety.
    Review severe weather safety.
    Review personal security.

    All of us are immersed in in all of those potential areas. A brief review would be helpful.

    That said, I don’t want schools creating and administering the content. I would like the schools to host the seminars without charging anything for the use of their facilities.

    • As a former HS teacher and now a professional sporting coach involved with water sports (i.e. lots of safety considerations) I have thought of this a fair bit over the years.

      Kids do need education and they need it on ‘difficult’ topics that their parents or certain groups might be uncomfortable with.

      I like your list, though this might make for a loooong and boring session if you covered it all at once!

      Kids are probably getting most of this along the way:
      – Review basic chemical hazards in Chemistry/Science class
      – Review water safety in PE class (if your school has a pool) or at camp
      – Review electrical hazards in Science/Physics/Workshop
      – Review power tool and compressed gas safety in Workshop
      – Review severe weather safety in general discussion/PE (outdoor)/Science

      We probably don’t have these included properly at the moment:
      – Review personal security.
      – Review pedestrian and bicycle safety (WTF is with parents being arrested for ‘neglect’ if a kid is walking or riding to school?)
      – Review life-threatening allergic reaction safety.

      You can’t cover everything (that is what parenting is for) but school should cover certain key topics that are either universally needed or have the potential to be missed by parents (due to lack of skill, lack of will, uncomfortable, religious reasons).

      For US high school I’d put my three key ones down as Sex-Ed (including relationships as well as the ‘mechanicals’!), Driver’s Ed and Firearm Ed (although you could make this a more general safety topic with some of the other stuff above in there – that might take the stigma out of it and avoid the need for ‘firearm’ in the title).

  20. “I find it respectful and informative — no more challenging to rights than, say, a fact sheet about protecting kids from the flu.”

    If a school fact sheet about flu misrepresented the possible side effects of flu shots, conflated flu and stds and distorted statistics regarding health provider malpractice would that be “respectful and informative”? This is anti-gun propaganda light. If their intent is accident prevention among school children, then why include suicides and homicides? Why include 18 and 19 year old adults murdering each other?

    The fact sheet refers to toy guns and bb guns as “imitation firearms”. This Orwellian newspeak is a classic gun grabber tactic calculated to generate hysterical overreaction.

    Schools should promote firearm safety, schools have no business disseminating anti-gun propaganda

  21. I’m impressed. They point out good safety without painting guns as evil. There’s nothing in there that I haven’t said at some point myself in the last 6 months. I do wish their links included one to the NRA or NSSF.

    Someone had mentioned schools needing to get shooting teams back. Our school district in Edwardsville just added a trap team. Approved unanously!

  22. We used to have NRA and police come to our schools to teach about safe handling of firearms. Encouraging us to get into shooting sports with our school and family was always one of the things they would mention. Never had an anti 2A spokes person at any of my schools here in Arizona.

  23. My high school in the early 70s had a rifle team, hunter education, shop classes where they repaired guns, kids with guns in their trucks, teachers demonstrating replica civil war guns, all sorts of politically incorrect stuff.

  24. Yes, gun safety is appropriate for teaching in schools. Eddie Eagle is appropriate for first grade with a follow up class in second grade.

    Fourth or fifth grade might be a good time to start with an archery or rifle club after school. By high school a marksmanship and/or skeet team would be appropriate. Another option might be an ROTC group.

    The letter would be very appropriate if sent to the parents of first or second graders. If sent to the parents of third or fourth graders it would be understandable. Using Eddie Eagle material in a letter like this is laudable. Doing so without attribute is plagiarizing and casts doubt to the honor and character of the author.

  25. What is the deal with the perennial advice to store ammo separate from guns? What is the origin of this concept? What about it makes people “safe?”

    It’s moronic, if you ask me.

    • The idea is if a child finds the gun and starts to play with it, they can’t fire it. If you aren’t worried about kids getting access to your guns, it probably doesn’t make sense.

  26. The “stop, dont touch, leave the area” is good for preschoolers, but by jr high & high school, *every* kid should know how to *clear* & make the top 5 guns safe..

    I know it will get the antis all wound up, but thousands of the gun deaths in this country could be prevented (and that’s the goal, right?!) if people knew how to *unload* a glock, a revolver, a shotgun & an ar-15.

    The class might take 15 minutes, and would likely save more lives than the cpr classes everyone supports.

  27. Is this a joke? A the moment children are being suspended and even arrested for talking about firearms….

  28. Sonoma County, CA, is decidedly Democratic Party controlled and represented in Congress and the State Legislature. I am surprised they put out this letter/fact sheet that is not patently hostile to gun ownership and The Second Amendment. Considering it is the Democrats who have made California into “Commiefornia” and are, even now, advancing some serious new assaults on legal gun owning Californians, this mail-out is surprisingly neutral.

    • While Sonoma County IS a Democratic controlled area,a lot of long standing residents here tend to have higher than average affluence and conservative families. Basically, the people with real power and connections here are still conservative in nature, but like to say they are “liberal” because they think that being nice makes them so. But, if you threaten their power, wealth, or ideology, you will get some nasty people working against you here. We’ve got a lot of old school Italian families, rich OFWGs, and celebrities (that say they are liberal but wouldn’t give up any of their stuff for ANYTHING)

      • Therein lies one of the chief faults with the liberal/prog. They are all too eager to commit other people’s money, time, and property to their “causes”, but heaven forbid they should be inconvenienced or have help out. You see the same thing in membership operated clubs. The loudest proponents of “we should do X” aren’t there the day the membership is doing “X”.

  29. While I understand the impulse to give the NRA credit for “stop, don’t touch, leave the area, tell an adult,” in this particular political environment, even mentioning the NRA is likely to turn off some gun owners, and send the antis into a full-blown swivet about “making guns and the NRA attractive to kids.” The antis don’t give a rat’s ass if they inflame us, but we shouldn’t return the favor, because that only gins up emotions more and that does nobody any good. This showed respect to gun owners, respect for children’s ability to process information sensibly, and didn’t wave the red flag. I give the school board a lot of credit.

  30. Absolutely. In a nation with as many guns as people, teaching the four basic rules should be standard.

  31. A high school with that name should definitely be promoting the use of protection. And also lots of lube.

    • Tip for everyone at my local library you can leave magazines on a table for others, I leave my old gun magazines ,NRA, shotgun news, etc.. they all get taken fast… do not trash them leave at the library for others ..(for security remove name/address) and VOTE EVERYONE…..

  32. That up there is a relatively neutral and pretty well done method of handling the issue. It covers what needs to be covered (mostly), leaves the politics out and gets the point across. So I approve.

    I do think firearm safety should be addressed in school. Why in school and not at home? Well it should be addressed at home too. Problem is not every parent owns a gun, and even kids that don’t have parents with guns may come across one in the wild. If they do, they should have the information necessary to keep them safe–and the parents can’t teach what they don’t know.

  33. Damn good idea, and if the school system doesn’t send it out, we as gun owners need to get the message out. We can not expect others to do our job for us. Especially when a lot of people out there are working against gun ownership. If we don’t start reaching out to the community and educating people on gun safety, responsible handling and storage, then we can expect nothing but bad things to happen. We are the face of gun ownership, what we do, or our lack of action will reflect directly how people view gun ownership. I have said this for years and I will continue to say it. “We are our own worst enemy when it comes to gun ownership.”

  34. I like it but there is a ton of info on that page that the NRA disseminates as well. Maybe a shout out?

  35. They should really expand on the bit about toy guns and talk about how not only does modifying them make them more dangerous, but that kids have actually been (justifiably) shot and killed by police and by armed citizens because they appeared to be armed with real guns.

  36. Fascinating. I haven’t read all the responses, but nobody so far saw what I saw, guess I’m warped. I saw a list of threats against anyone with the audacity to own a firearm, misdemeanors, fines, liabilities, locks, etc, etc, I thought it was helpful as a guide to laws CA needs to repeal. But it was OK because it was produced with the assistance of “gun safety groups”, you know, like MAIG, MDA, Brady, etc. I’m not seeing much positive.

    • It’s a “lowered expectations” kind of thing. As in, for California, it sounds pretty neutral. And who can argue with Eddie Eagle, even if he isn’t acknowledged.

    • LarryinTX, it only looks that way to folks who live in the more-free areas outside CA. If, as a gun owner, you’ve agreed to live there for whatever reason(s), (or at least, temporarily agreed not to flee), you have already decided to embrace the suck and live under the rules you mentioned (and any more the Dem rulers see fit to heap upon you). Because of this, for most residents, the chains rest lightly upon their shoulders.

  37. Nothing wrong with the way they did this. I think they even used the NRA’s warning to kids if they find a gun. Well thought out and beneficial for the parents.

  38. I think in theory this is a great idea. Not all parents own guns or even give them a single thought. However their children may encounter firearms outside their homes and so should have some basic understanding of them. Even though there is some threatening language in this particular letter it still introduces the idea of guns to people to whom it may not otherwise occur. Additionally it lets them know that guns CAN be handled safely. As for whether or not it is the public school’s job to do this, I say why not? Its no different than educating on the other things young people will encounter as the grow up. Like say drugs, sex, driving and alcohol.

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