OLYMPIA — In the past few weeks, three children in Washington state have been shot — two of them killed — because the owners of guns didn't lock them up tight. In response, Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D—Bothell, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 8020 to promote the use of the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program in preschools, early learning programs, and schools.
“Teaching children to act safely around firearms is a critical step in the effort to reduce the number of accidents among children,” said McAuliffe. “I have introduced gun lock box legislation in the past, but regardless, children will still come across guns and need to be able to handle the situation safely. By education and awareness we can help kids prevent senseless and tragic gun accidents.”
The National Rifle Association, education professionals, urban housing safety officials, clinical psychologists, and law enforcement developed the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program to teach children in prekindergarten through third grade how to stay safe if they encounter a gun.
Since the Gun Safety program began in 1988, it has reached more than twenty-one million children, in all fifty states.
Eddie Eagle, the program's lovable feathered mascot, teaches kids that guns are not toys. When a child sees a gun they should: STOP, do not touch, leave the area, and tell an adult.
Participating children receive certificates of merit and stickers and posters of Eddie Eagle, in addition to important safety training that could save a life.
Available free or at nominal cost, this program is gaining popularity in many of our state's school districts and police departments.
Many children play with toy guns that closely resemble real weapons and watch television programs and movies that routinely portray the irresponsible and unsafe handling of guns, which are factors that tend to blur the distinction between make-believe and reality, and encourage unsafe behavior.
Federal officials estimate that our nation has approximately two hundred million or more firearms in private ownership that are potential accidents waiting to happen in the hands of an unsuspecting child.