Legislation introduced in Tennessee would require publicly funded schools to provide instruction on firearms safety on an ongoing, yearly basis. 

The measure, SB227/HB103, would provide annual training for students in the earliest appropriate grade through grade 12. Current law allows for a noncompulsory gun safety class. The new proposal, introduced this month by two Republicans, state Sen. Joey Hensley and state Rep. Brandon Ogles, will bring the instruction to a broader audience. 

Under its current language, the measure requires the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission, along with the state Department of Education and Department of Safety, to determine the earliest appropriate grade for students to begin receiving instruction on firearm safety, then provide a program to deliver it.

Once created, each local school district and public charter school will provide the 15-minute instruction annually either through a video or online materials starting in the 2022-23 school year. The instruction has to be neutral on the politics around guns and it will be up to each school to determine how to best incorporate the module into the school year. 

The curriculum would be built around the subject that if a student finds a firearm, they should never touch it and immediately notify an adult of the gun's location. The same instruction is key to the NRA's popular Eddie Eagle GunSafe gun accident prevention program which has been taught to over 30 million youth since it was introduced in 1988. Similarly, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s own Project ChildSafe initiative dates to 1999 and covers much the same ground. ChildSafe recently joined with the National Crime Prevention Council to feature McGruff the Crime Dog in a series of shorts on gun safety.

The bill has been assigned to the Education Instruction Subcommittee for review. 

Banner Photo via Sturm, Ruger.

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