Guns come to CO middle school in the name of safety

Project Appleseed

Students spend two days learning all about firearms, then a full day at the range practicing their skills. (Photo: KOAA)

Students at one Colorado City middle school had the unique opportunity to learn a different – and sometimes controversial – kind of lesson this week. The youngsters spent three days learning about gun safety through a program known as Project Appleseed.

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“We’re teaching them about the firearms so they are familiar with them, they can be safe with them,” the program’s state coordinator, Jim Heath, told a local NBC affiliate during one of the training days at Craver Middle School.

Heath explained he feels it is better for young boys and girls to know about guns and how to handle them, essentially replacing fear with respect.

“It’s not, ‘Oh, what’s this? What can we do with this?’” Heath said.

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The three day program consists of two days of learning how to safely and properly handle guns, and on the third day, students get the opportunity to take that training to the range and practice the skills they have learned with live rounds.

But Project Appleseed doesn’t solely focus on safety and training either. The program’s foundation centers around American history, and students learn where firearms came from and why the American people have them. According to the Project Appleseed website, owning and mastering a rifle is an American heritage.

This is the third year in a row volunteers have brought the program to the middle school, and while some students had prior experience with firearms, most think the program is a good idea.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” said 7th grade student Tristin Baker. “It’s something that you don’t get to see every day.”

Eighth grade student Courtney Proctor, who is familiar with firearms and has been shooting with her family, said the program offers a chance to look at a lot of different guns, many more than most people have in their homes.