Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

Update:  Gov. Nixon signed the bill today – 7/12/13.  I’m reposting this blog in protest.  Please forward this if you are unhappy with this decision.  

In response to the nation’s Sandy Hook school shooting, the Missouri Senate introduced a bill in December 2012 to provide gun safety instructions to Missouri’s first graders.

SB 75 – This act establishes the Active Shooter and Intruder Response Training for Schools Program (ASIRT). By July 1, 2014, each school district and charter school must train teachers and school employees on how to respond to students with information about a threatening situation and how to address a potentially dangerous or armed intruder or active shooter in the school or on school property. Training must be conducted on an annual basis. Initial training must be eight hours in length and continuing training must be four hours in length. All school personnel must annually participate in a simulated active shooter and intruder response drill conducted by law enforcement professionals, as described in the act. Program instructors must be certified by the Department of Public Safety’s Peace Officers Standards Training Commission. (Section 170.315)


Each school district and charter school must annually teach the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program to first grade students, or use a substantially similar or successor program of the same qualifications. The purpose of the program will be to promote safety and protection of children and emphasize how students should respond if they encounter a firearm. School personnel and program instructors must not make value judgments about firearms. Firearms are prohibited from the teaching of the program. Students with disabilities will participate to the extent appropriate. (Section 171.410)


Meet Eddie Eagle and dreamy 90210 heartthrob — Brandon Walsh from 90210 a.k.a. Jason Priestley.

The Eddie Eagle gun safety program is brought to you by none other than the National Rifle Association.

What’s so wrong about teaching 1st graders gun safety?  Nothing if “stop, don’t touch, leave the area and tell an adult” was an effective message.  Turns out that a study done by the National Institute of Medicine in 2004 comparing Eddie Eagle  and another behavior change curriculum on gun safety found that Eddie’s gun safety message didn’t do much more than teach kids to recite the snappy tune:


Both programs were effective for teaching children to reproduce verbally the gun-safety message. The behavioral skills training program but not the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program was effective for teaching children to perform gun-safety skills during a supervised role play, but the skills were not used when the children were assessed via real-life (in situ) assessments.


Existing programs are insufficient for teaching gun-safety skills to children. Programs that use active learning strategies (modeling, rehearsal, and feedback) are more effective for teaching gun-safety skills as assessed by supervised role plays but still failed to teach the children to use the skills outside the context of the training session. More research is needed to determine the most effective way to promote the use of the skills outside the training session.

To read the entire study click here:

Oops…turns out Eddie Eagle isn’t flying high when it comes to effective gun safety training.

MO Politicians – in a time when vital school programs are being cut due to budget constraints, does it make sense to carry out a program that has no evidence-based results?  If all my child is going to learn from Eddie Eagle is to sing a gun safety song,  how about if you fund better music programs so my child can learn other valuable music lessons and sing other fun songs?

A bill like SB 75 is nothing but a cosmetic fix that adds insult to injury, because it is sponsored by this nation’s most powerful gun lobby.  It embeds the NRA into our Missouri Schools.  This is not a fix, but a PR ploy by the NRA and sponsored by MO lawmakers.

I demand more from our representatives.  I am against teaching about gun safety in our nation’s schools, but I am even more against adding behavior-change curriculum that shows no concrete results for actual change.  Call your MO repesentatives and urge them not to vote for this bill.  Demand that any curriculum added to our children’s schools should only be added when evidence shows it can actually reduce gun accidents in children.  While you are at it, remind them to keep funding our school’s music programs.

Eddie Eagle can buzz off.  Brandon Walsh however…

6 thoughts on “MO signs bill to teach terrible curriculum on gun safety

  1. cj says:

    So I’m a little confused here…are you complaining that they’re teaching gun safety, or that the program they’re using isn’t effective? Personally, I believe that both the pro and anti gun groups would invest in decent safety education (not just what appears to be a 70’s era set of catchphrases), we’d drastically reduce the horrible accidents that occur…but at the moment it seems to be the best thing out there. Maybe take this as motivation to work to create a better program since no one else seems interested? This law allows for alternatives if they’re better…and that shouldn’t be hard, but your opinion seems to be that teaching nothing is better than teaching something. (As an aside, I’m sort of curious what your thoughts on teaching safe sex would be as well, since there seems to be an odd dichotomy of people who believe that teaching safe sex is bad but about guns is good, and vice versa, while the arguments for and against are similarly flip-flopped.)

    Don’t have a gun in your home? Search for and watch the expose one news group did, hiding a firearm on a playground with hidden cameras and watch the kids behavior and wonder what your child would do if one of the 200 million+ firearms should find its way into their path?

    1. Thanks for taking time to read my blog and commenting. I’m complaining that they are teaching gun safety AND that the program they decided to use isn’t effective. Statistics say that only 42% of households even have a gun. It is highly likely that my child will live her whole life and never see a gun like the majority of households and children.

      I have a HUGE objection to gun safety being taught by the NRA. I find it ironic that the Republicans who are against Planned Parenthood teaching sex ed are OK with bringing a special interest group in like the NRA to teach a course that has been proven to have little impact on behavior change.

      I am for sex ed – why? Because 99% of the children attending sex ed class will end up having sex in their lifetime. Those are far better statistics than the 42% of households and 30% of individuals who even have a gun. It is PROVEN that sex education works.

      The NRA has no place in our public schools and I am furious that we so easily accept them and their gun safety program without showing any significant evidence-based behavior change. At this time when school districts are cutting important curriculum like art and music, it certainly isn’t the time to add curriculum that isn’t even effective.

      Thanks again for stopping by!
      All the best,

      1. cj says:

        Thanks for the response and clarification (particularly the point about cost cutting of curriculums which I hadn’t considered before).

        As for the sex education part, it was an aside as my wife and I were just musing about it last night, where conservatives types seem to believe sex education will make people go out and have ‘the sex’ which is apparently bad (?), but teaching about firearms is good, while the more liberal bent seem to fear that teaching about guns will suddenly make people interested in firearms being bad, while teaching about sex is good.

        I personally believe education allows people to make more educated decisions in all aspects, and that benefits would be seen if BOTH were taught. I see your point about the odds of someone being more likely to have sex in their lifetime, but with millions of firearms out there, the odds of someone running into a gun at some point is pretty high as well, and I’d much rather they know, for example, that pulling the trigger is a lousy way to check to see if it’s loaded…if a good video showing the sheer destructive damage a gun can do makes someone not touch one they stumble across, I’m all for it.

  2. jfh says:

    I suggest you drop your political biases about the NRA and go find out about the educational programs they offer. I don’t particularly care for the ‘Eddie Eagle’ program (and I am an inactive NRA instructor), but I have not seen any alternative program that deals appropriately with attitudes about firearms.

    As for your belief that ‘only’ 40% of homes have firearms in them–do consider that that ‘statistic’ is based on self-reporting, and is notoriously unreliable. Besides, with over 300 million firearms in the country, at some point your child will be exposed to them, and it is better to have some sort of knowledge beyond the antigun ‘guns are bad!!’ mantra.

    1. Thanks for writing. I think for now I’m going to keep my political bias on the NRA. I’ve lived a pretty typical suburban life in the Midwest and I’ve gone my whole life not seeing or interacting with a gun. I even lived in DC for a while and still no guns.

      I don’t buy the argument that something is better than nothing when it comes to gun safety instruction. Keep it out of our schools. The NRA serves many gun owners well, but it won’t stop my viewpoint that they are promoting their own agenda instead of what is right for our communities.

      Thanks again for sharing your viewpoint! I appreciate it.

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