JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Along with learning their ABCs, Missouri first-graders could some day be required to take a gun safety course. Senate Bill 75 is under consideration in a state Senate committee and received little opposition this week.
Krista Bauer is a mother to six children. One of her youngest attends preschool in Springfield. Her older kids love to hunt and were exposed to guns at an early age. It is at that early age Bauer laid down the ground rules.
"The guns are off limits. They do not touch them unless they have asked us for it. Of course, they are unloaded and ammunition is in a total separate place and locked," said Bauer.
This fall, one of her children will be in first grade. Bauer says she is comfortable with gun safety being taught in the classroom.
"For first-graders, they would be able to understand and know what they were being taught," she said.
A bill sponsored by Sen. Dan Brown, R - Rolla, would bring the teaching of the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program inside every first-grade classroom. The NRA developed the program in 2002 in response to news stories about deaths and injuries to youth by irresponsible gunfire. Kids would learn what to do if they find a gun.
The bill also would require teachers to take eight hours of training annually on how to respond to an armed intruder. Police would play a role in the training for teachers through a simulated active shooter and intruder response.
"In having these discussions, we will give teachers more tools. On the job training with an active shooter is not acceptable," Brown said in an interview by Skype on Wednesday.
Ironically, Brown filed the measure one day before the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut.
"I think, if you would have asked the instructors at Sandy Hook the day before it happened, they would have said this never would happen in our community. We all feel that way. But if it does, what is the appropriate response?" said Brown.
Whether it gets the green light or not, some parents feel the talk about gun safety starts and ends in the home.
"This is something every parent should have a talk about gun safety and everything. What do to if a stranger comes up to you? what do if you find a gun," said parent Darick Hemphill.
We were unable to find any parent that opposes this bill. If it passes, Missouri would be one of the first states to mandate the gunsafe program for kids this young. A vote is scheduled for next week.