Did the Mainstream Media Just Endorse an NRA Program?

posted on August 5, 2023
Photo: NRA

The National Rifle Association has long led the way when it comes to firearms education, training and safety for people of all ages. The mainstream media, however, conveniently ignores this at every turn, but it seems even this might now be changing.

Reporters from CNN and other outlets extolled the virtue and importance of a recent report by the Journal of the American Medicine Association (JAMA) Pediatrics that said children who watched a one-minute gun-safety video were more cautious when they found a real handgun hidden in a drawer in their lab compared to children who watched a car-safety video.

CNN practically gushed in trumpeting the headline: “A one-minute video reduced kids’ unsafe behavior around guns, study finds.” And the news outlet’s astonishing lead sentence proclaimed, “Sixty seconds might be all it takes to keep some kids safer around guns, a new study suggests.”

In the study, titled “Effect of a Gun Safety Video on Children’s Behavior Around Real Guns,”  pairs of children were randomly assigned to watch a one-minute gun or car safety video at home. In the laboratory, they were randomly assigned to watch a 20-minute clip from a violent PG-rated movie with or without guns. Next, they played with games and toys for 20 minutes in another room that contained two disabled 9 mm handguns hidden in a file cabinet drawer. Sessions were videotaped via a hidden camera.

The study reported: “In this trial of children assigned to watch a gun or car safety video, watching a gun safety video reduced children’s unsafe behavior around real guns.” In the gun-safety video used, Ohio State University Police Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt states: “Guns are not toys and are not to be played with. If a child finds a real gun, they should not pick it up or move it. Instead, find an adult and tell them where it is located.” (Emphasis added.) 

Here’s where the “Duh!” comes in, and it’s a big one. The NRA has been doing yeoman’s work in teaching gun safety to children for decades and has known this “trick” all along. Since 1988, the NRA Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program has taught more than 32 million children that if they see a gun, “Stop! Don’t Touch. Run Away. Tell A Grown-up.” In the process, the program has undoubtedly saved many lives.

This situation concerning the seemingly “stolen” message raises a few questions. Wouldn’t it have been easier for those at the American Medical Association to study Eddie Eagle’s rich history and fantastic results to find out what has already been proven to make children safer? And wouldn’t it have been more logical for CNN and other media covering the study to simply write an accurate headline about how Eddie Eagle has been making children safer for decades?

The answer to both questions, of course, is “yes.” But there’s an underlying problem to such logic: Neither the organizations that claim to speak for the medical community nor the mainstream media are honest enough to admit that the people they derisively refer to as the “gun lobby” have made a huge impact on keeping America’s children safer for generations. To do so would be to admit the very people they have spent decades painting as the “bad guys” are really the “good guys.”

For the mainstream media to suddenly act like they’ve discovered some secret for making kids safer around firearms is insulting, disgusting, and shameful. In the end, it’s likely that even old Eddie Eagle himself is happy that more people are learning his life-saving message, even if through an unexpected avenue.



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