The Wisconsin Legislature last week held the first public hearing for a new bill that calls for the development of a gun safety course for public schools. The course would focus primarily on gun safety but would also cover the “history, science, and mathematics of firearms.”
“With so many [Wisconsin] students participating in [shooting sports], it is important to offer students an opportunity to better understand the safety and responsibilities that firearms require,” said Rep. Ken Swowronski in a written statement.
Swowronski emphasized that the proposed legislation does not require schools to include the new course in its selection of electives. The bill merely calls for the development of a course that individual school districts can choose to use or not.
The bill specifically prohibits the presence of live ammunition in the classroom and says nothing about whether or not functional firearms need to be brought into the school to use as examples.
But the non-binding nature of the proposed policy and its emphasis on safety didn’t stop anti-gunners from displaying their ignorance about firearms and pushing their conspiracy theories about the gun lobby.
Wisconsin Rep. Sondy Pope, for instance, worried that a student might bring live ammunition into the gun safety course to use in one of the firearms. But even a rudimentary knowledge of firearms would have told her that by removing the firing pin most guns can be made inoperable while retaining enough functionally to be useful for education.
Safety concerns like these can be answered without much trouble, so the bulk of the testimony against the policy took another mode of attack.
Wisconsin resident Ann Muenster said the bill is nothing more than a “marketing ploy of the gun industry to promote gun sales to a new generation.”
Derek Hoesly agreed, saying “The gun lobby should have no role in deciding the high school curriculum.”
Rev. Scott Marrese-Wheeler reiterated these objections, almost verbatim:
“[This bill] is not even really about teaching our students safety. It has nothing to do with promoting the health and well-being of our students, our neighborhoods, our community and our great state… It is simply another assault on our good senses, our schools, and our students to introduce guns into more public places. The gun manufacturers and the gun lobby simply see this as another way to make a profit.”
Sally Drew also believed the gun lobby is behind the push to teach kids how to handle guns responsibly. “This bill is not really about teaching gun safety,” she said. “It is about teaching children how to shoot, and the purpose is to grow the shooting industry by promoting this activity to children at a young age.”
Other states have already passed similar educational programs, including Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Louisiana, North Carolina, Idaho, and Arizona.