Bill proposes teaching 8th graders gun safety


Gun SafetySALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Middle School students could soon take part in a class that would teach them proper firearm safety.

Senate Bill 276, sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler (R) would create a pilot program that educate students on what to do when coming across a firearm.

“An 8th grader’s parents could opt them into a one hour or so class that would teach them how, if they see a gun what to do, which would primarily don’t touch it and tell an adult,” said Sen. Weiler.

The program itself has yet to be developed. However, Sen. Weiler says no guns would be involved with the program.  It would be overseen by the Attorney General’s office with cooperation with the Utah State Board of Education to select a third party candidate who would develop the curriculum.

The bill has gained wide support from many including Miriam Walkingshaw, President of Utah Parent’s Against Gun Violence, who said in a statement, “We support Todd Weiler’s bill and think it will help prevent gun violence and accidents among teens. We would like to see more programs and laws directed at parents which hold them responsible for giving children and teens access to firearms. But SB 276 is a step in the right direction.”

While The Utah Parent Teacher Association did not have an opinion on the bill until further details about the program itself were made available Rachel Petersen, State Safety Commissioner for the Utah PTA thinks education is crucial.

“Many kids do not have access to firearms and may not necessarily know the dangers of firearms in real life as oppose to what we see in real life and computer and video games.”

While the Utah PTA remained silent on taking a position on the bill until more details about the program itself were released they stated that they do support educational programs that promote gun responsibility and encourage parents to talk with and educate their children about responsible firearm safety.

Senator Weiler in the meantime remains optimistic about the bill and hopeful that it is a step in the right direction.

“What this is, is a pilot program so we can try to find out how effective it would be and try to be as effective as we can, and we’re hoping to learn something in the next 2 years.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for a vote.


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