Accidental Shooting Tragic
By Larry S. Moore
The accidental shooting of a 5-year old Xenia boy is tragic. We can certainly give thanks that it was not fatal. While firearms accidents are declining, it hits home when it is in our community - our children. Statistics are meaningless if it is your child that is injured.
The tragic part, in addition to the wounding of the boy and emotional concerns for both youngsters, is that such accidents are easily preventable. We know that not all people are responsible, not all parents are responsible, and therefore, not all gun owners are responsible.
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Safe storage of firearms is taught at many free or low cost classes across the county. Greene County Fish and Game Club recently hosted an event which focused on safety. Thirty-nine youngsters attended. I often volunteer to instruct at these events. They are frequently advertised courtesy of the Greene County Dailies.
Gun owners have a responsibility to safely store firearms in the home. Even if a firearm is being kept for personal protection, there are storage methods that secure the gun from harms way while still having it available in an emergency.
The very best course for teaching children about firearms is the NRA Eddie Eagle class. It is a national award-winning educational class that teaches children that firearms are not toys, leave the area if a gun is found, and get an adult. That is a lesson that even five-year olds can be taught. There is a video, an educational coloring book, and an appearance by the mascot Eddie Eagle. Unfortunately, it is rarely taught in our area.
The real tragic part is this. There is money in the state school budget funding for schools to teach the NRA Eddie Eagle Program. The NRA has grant money available to provide the course materials. Much of the funding money goes unused each year. So why aren't these classes being taught in Greene County? Why can't this material be included in the DARE or other youth programs? What about the YMCA or day cares offering the class?
The Xenia and Greene County community has had a wake up call. Will we respond or will we wait for another, perhaps more serious, accident?
For more information on the Eddie Eagle program go to: http://www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/index.asp