By Michael Infanzon |
Firearms are a serious matter, and it’s essential to teach children from an early age about their potential danger. Unfortunately, not all parents and guardians are adequately informed or trained to teach their kids about gun safety. That’s why it’s important to have programs in place to help educate children about the importance of not playing with firearms.
This session, Representative Selina Bliss tried to do just that when she introduced HB2332, a bill dealing with firearms safety training in Arizona schools. But Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed it. This decision is concerning because it may put the safety of children at risk.
HB2332 would have provided education and resources to schools to teach children about firearm safety and the consequences of playing with guns. The Governor’s decision to veto the bill sends the message that gun safety is not a priority for the state, which is simply unacceptable. In her veto letter, Governor Hobbs stated, “Ensuring the safety of our students is a responsibility that belongs to all of us.” We agree. That is why HB2332 was so important, and yet while the Governor admits to meeting “with gun safety advocates to discuss acts of preventable gun violence,” she never responded to numerous requests to meet and discuss from us.
It’s crucial to remember that firearms are not toys, and they should never be treated as such. Children must understand the dangers associated with guns and how to handle them safely, even if they have never personally encountered a firearm before. This education can be the difference between life and death for both the child and those around them.
That’s why it’s critical for parents and guardians to take responsibility for educating their children about firearms, especially now that HB2332 has been vetoed. They should talk to their kids about the dangers of playing with guns and emphasize the importance of never touching a firearm without adult supervision. It’s also crucial to teach children what to do if they come across a firearm accidentally, such as immediately leaving the area and telling a trusted adult.
Moreover, parents and guardians should teach their children to differentiate between toys and firearms, as some toy guns look similar to real firearms. It’s important to emphasize that real guns can cause harm and are not to be played with, no matter how similar they may look to a toy.
Teaching children about firearm safety is a paramount responsibility for parents, guardians, and society as a whole. It’s not only about protecting our children but also about preventing tragedies. While the veto of the recent bill is disheartening, we can all take steps to educate our children about the importance of not playing with firearms. By doing so, we can create a safer world for our children to live in.
Michael Infanzon is the Managing Partner for EPIC Policy Group and lobbies on behalf of groups like the Arizona Citizens Defense League and the Arizona Firearms Industry Trade Association.