The state Senate agreed 38-1 that a House bill to allow firearm safety and accident prevention training for elementary students in Louisiana schools was a good idea.
After flying through the House in a 93-3 vote last month, the bill found easy approval in the legislature’s upper chamber, winning bipartisan support. Unanimous House concurrence Tuesday afternoon sent the measure to Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal for approval.
Rep. Blake Miguez, R-Erath, a competition shooter, and former contestant on the History Channel’s Top Shot television program, sponsored the legislation.
“The goal is to save children’s lives and protect our youth,” explained Miguez.
Miguez’s legislation, HB 446, allows public school districts to allocate time and funding to administer gun safety lessons modeled after the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe program and folds such instruction into existing curriculum. While the bill allocates no funds, a fiscal note prepared with the legislation outlines that grant monies might be available.
The bill as introduced would have made attendance by elementary school students in the state in the program mandatory, and only authorized the NRA program. However, in order to pass committee the lawmakers stripped the arbitrary language and made the education optional.
A House amendment allowed that the Louisiana Law Enforcement for Gun Safety program could also be used as a model for instruction.
“I can’t disagree with what they want to do,” Miguez said of the state program. “It’s still a good bill.”
School administrators say they are open to looking at the programs.
“They don’t call this state the ‘sportsman’s paradise’ for nothing,” said Dale Henderson, superintendent of Iberia Parish Schools. “Anything as a school system that we can do to promote safety on any level, especially gun safety, is certainly something we’ll take a hard look at.”
Jindal, who has a long history of supporting pro-gun legislation, is expected to sign the bill into law.