Mandating that the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program (TNT, 2-22) be taught in Washington schools would be risky and unwise.
When evaluated, such programs were not effective in teaching young children to perform gun-safety skills in real-life situations. Children will verbally repeat the safety message but then do not use the skills when placed in a realistic scenario.
An Eddie Eagle approach across Washington may actually increase the risk of harm to children by providing false reassurance to some parents about how their kids would behave around guns. State resources would be better spent on a program that encourages the safe storage of firearms to prevent children from accessing them.
(Ayer, a physician, is a trustee with the Washington chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.)