The school board in Culpeper County, Va., unanimously approved a motion to offer free firearm- and hunter-safety education to middle-school students and voted 5-2 to further explore the idea of using the NRA Eddie Eagle GunSafe program in elementary schools.
“The more we educate our young people on how to safely handle a firearm and what to do when you encounter one, the safer our children will be,” Marshall Keene, the school board member who proposed both motions and who is chair of the Culpeper County Republican Party, told America’s 1st Freedom. “Culpeper is still a rural community with the vast majority of homeowners owning firearms. The chances a student will encounter a firearm are very likely. So, by educating them, it kills the curiosity and may prevent an accidental shooting.”
The NRA Eddie Eagle program the school board is considering for elementary school students teaches them what to do if they encounter a firearm. (Stop! Don’t touch. Run away. Tell a grown-up.) Keene noted in a Facebook post that Virginia code 22.1-204.1, Firearm safety education program, which specifies what topics elementary school firearm-safety programs must teach when instituted, specifically includes the Eddie Eagle safety rules.
“The Eddie Eagle program has been helping schools teach firearm accident prevention for over 30 years, and we are thrilled to possibly be able to help the children of Culpepper County learn Eddie’s safety message and help keep them safe,” said Eric Lipp, the NRA’s community outreach national manager. “The Eddie Eagle program has one mission, and that’s helping children stay safe, which we hope all elementary schools can support.”
The Eddie Eagle GunSafe program was recognized in the Journal of Emergency Nursing Online as the best of the 80 gun-accident prevention programs they evaluated in 2001. It has also been honored or endorsed by such groups as the National Sheriffs’ Association, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Association of American Educators.
Volunteer instructors with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will conduct Culpeper County’s approved firearm- and hunter-safety-education program, which will likely be offered after school hours starting next Fall.
Culpeper County is located 60 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. and has an estimated population of 52,000. The county became a Second Amendment sanctuary on Dec. 3, 2019 (there are now 91 such counties of 95 in Virginia). The county’s sheriff, Scott Jenkins, also made national news when he said he would deputize “thousands” of law-abiding gun owners to protect their Second Amendment rights from the slew of gun-control legislation newly elected Democrats had proposed in Virginia.