I know people here come down on both sides of the gun control debate. That's fine, I'm not here to argue with you. Personally, I abhor guns. I do not and will not ever own one. I've pulled the trigger on a gun exactly one time in my life, and that was at the insistence of a college friend who couldn't believe I'd never fired one. Didn't like it, never will. That's just my personal viewpoint, I'm not trying to convince you of that, nor am I trying to take away your guns. That's just a little background before I dive into what got me so enraged this morning.
I live in Missouri. It's a mixed bag of a state. We've got a Democratic governor and one senator, but have turned solidly red at the presidential level and in our state legislature. We're also one of the most anti-tax and pro-gun states in the Union. But what our duly elected representatives are now proposing is out-of-control crazy.
I glanced at the cover of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning in a grocery store. On the front page was a story about our state legislature and their pro-gun stance, because freedom. Nothing new if you've followed Missouri politics for any length of time. However, there were two aspects of the story that jumped off the page at me. First,
[State Sen. Brian] Munzlinger [R-Williamstown] is sponsoring a bill this session that would prohibit the enforcement of any new federal laws that restrict access to semiautomatic firearms or magazines.Okay, so we're going to ignore forthcoming federal regulations. Think of us as the next Colorado or Washington, boldly standing up to the federal government, except with assault weapons instead of marijuana. Really, I'm not that surprised. But this next part, buried in the story, is what really got my blood boiling:
Meanwhile, a bill in the Senate would require school districts and charter schools to train teachers and other employees how to respond in dangerous situations. It also would require schools to teach the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program or a similar program to all first-graders.(emphasis mine)
I have a three-year old son. He's everything to me, and still perfectly innocent. In fact, he's helped me ground my life after I had lost my sense of direction. And now you're telling me that in just three short years, at the still tender age of six, there's a chance he will be LEGALLY REQUIRED to take a NRA gun class?? Wingnut parents in this state can still get their kids out of learning evolution, but I will have no choice but to submit my son to something I strongly oppose. I've lived in Missouri for the past 18 years, a majority of my life, but should this bill pass I may find myself pulling up roots by 2015.
UPDATE: If anyone thinks we SHOULD let our first graders be exposed to the NRA's Eddie Eagle program, commentator Fred Fnord links us to the following study by the Violence Prevention Center: Joe Camel with Feathers
Their first "Key Finding":
The primary goal of the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle program is not to safeguard children, but to protect the interests of the NRA and the firearms industry by making guns more acceptable to children and youth. The Eddie Eagle program employs strategies similar to those utilized by America's tobacco industry—from youth "educational" programs that are in fact marketing tools to the use of appealing cartoon characters that aim to put a friendly face on a hazardous product. The hoped-for result is new customers for the industry and new members for the NRA.