Teaching youngsters gun safety

STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.

Those four easy gun safety steps will be taught to students in Pre-K through third grade on March 8 at the IBEW 972 Union Hall in Reno.

Daryl Jones, owner of Gunstock Firearms and Training, is sponsoring the free Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, which will teach children not whether guns are good or bad, but what to do if they encounter a gun and ways to ensure their safety.

“This is not a pro- or anti-gun agenda,” Jones said. “The most important thing is children being safe.”

Local magician Kerry Blair, who will be performing during the program, said the nice thing about the program is that its focus is safety.

“It’s done from a safety standpoint, not a political standpoint,” he said. “There are no guns going to be present; the Eddie Eagle program requires that. It’s a good way to get the same message across to kids but in a slightly different manner than they might normally hear it.”

Blair added that “there’ll be some oohs and ahhs” during his show, but it will also have a message.

“It’s all basically about kids being able to identify…adults they can trust and to go to them for help rather than them hurting themselves or someone else,” he said.

The four steps will encourage children that if they see a gun, they are to stop and not touch it. They are then to leave the area to find an adult. They’re also taught what kind of adult to find.

“That’s where the safe and unsafe, good and bad comes in,” Jones said. “For an adult, are you going to tell your 13 year-old friend or are you going to find a parent, a police officer or teacher.”

Jones said the methodology is that if those four simple steps are repeated enough, children will remember them.

“The way I do all my classes is I do reinforcement,” he said. “The more times you repeat (something) the likely you are to instill it deeper.”

Jones said there will be coloring activities and possibly a message from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Jones said the sheriff’s office would hopefully be there to distribute gun safe locks and offer the kid’s ID program, and also have the K-9 unit as a chance to let children “get to know their local law enforcement.”

“We’re hoping to have one or all of those events,” he said.

Jones said he is hoping to have a high turnout, in order to see if there is a need to have more programs like it in the future. He said after watching an Eddie Eagle with his child, who was 2 at the time, his son could repeat the entire message. He added that gun safety should be “first and foremost” for any parent and child.

“Just because there aren’t guns in your house…doesn’t mean (your child) won’t come across a firearm,” said Jones.