Eddie Eagle is an anthropomorphic raptor who for the past three decades has been the star of a series of firearm accident prevention lessons geared to youth. (Photo: NRA)
The National Rifle Association announced this week that their kid-oriented gun safety initiative has soared to new heights. The Eddie Eagle GunSafe program, the group’s proprietary accident prevention project geared to a Pre-K through 4th-grade audience, this month celebrated a milestone by reaching its 31 millionth child.
The program, which the group contends is about safety, not marketing guns to kids, addresses firearms in the household like other potentially dangerous items such as swimming pools, electrical outlets, and matchbooks. As such, it uses a simple “STOP! Don’t Touch. Run Away. Tell a Grownup,” mantra when it comes to guns in the home.
“Since our founding, the NRA has been committed to firearm safety, responsibility and education,” said NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre in a statement. “Those important concepts are the hallmarks of the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program.”
In addition to being taught to youth in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico, since its inception in 1988, some 25 states have moved to incorporate elements of the program in gun safety training, according to the NRA. Recently these have included Louisiana, Idaho, and Kansas.
The NRA’s fundraising efforts through local Friends of NRA groups and The NRA Foundation help defray the program’s cost, enabling police and educators to deliver the course at low or no cost. Along with its support for Eddie, the Foundation has made $369 million in grant funding available in support of the shooting sports since 1990.
“Eddie’s incredible success is proof that proactive accident prevention education works, and works well,” said LaPierre. “Our children are our future, and it’s our responsibility to teach them how to stay safe. To that end, the NRA will continue to work with community leaders to reach youths across our great nation.”
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