Virginia Bill May Require NRA Materials Be Used In Schools With Gun Safety Classes

5:37 PM, Apr 20, 2010   |    comments
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FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) -- The National Rifle Association could soon be coming to your child's school. 

"I don't care what the narrow interests are. I don't want it mandated and I don't want it shoved down my child's throat," says Martina Leinz, a Fairfax County mother of two.

Leinz and other anti-gun activists are angry over legislation about to be signed by Governor Bob McDonnellHB 1217 is the Firearm Safety Education bill. It says if school boards decide to offer firearm safety programs in elementary schools, they must use the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program.

Part of the program is a videotape which introduces a cartoon character called "Eddie Eagle." The video shows some kids finding a gun in an attic.

Eddie flies in to the rescue with a catchy song, "And there, behind the broom, I saw a gun and the kids saw it too! Stop, don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult!"

The NRA says on it's website that, "The Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program was created by a task force that includes educators, school administrators, curriculum specialist, urban housing safety officials, clinical psychologist, law enforcement officials and National Rifle Association firearms safety experts."

Paul Helmke President and CEO of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says Eddie Eagle is no different than Joe the Camel, who encouraged kids to smoke.

"They're doing this because they're trying to recruit more gun owners. Young people aren't getting into hunting like they did in my generation and they're concerned about that," says Helmke.

Helmke and Leinz says the bill shows Governor McDonnell is in the pocket of the NRA.

"This is an NRA-backed bill all the way. The NRA is just trying to jam down the throats of our children. They're trying to indoctrinate our children. I don't want my children to know anything about guns except to stay away from them," says Leinz.

Alexa Fritts, a spokesperson for the NRA says more than 21 million children in all 50 states have take the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program. She says Eddie Eagle has no agenda, and is never seen touching a gun.  She said the "Eddie Eagle Bill" similar to Virginia's has become law in many states.

Fritts also says the program is paid for with grants from the NRA, Foundation, although the critics say the program still uses valuable public school teaching time and resources.

Written by Peggy Fox

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