The National Rifle Association (NRA) has a new plan for keeping our nation’s children out of harm's way: giving them shooting and gun training.
A host for the gun rights lobbying organization’s online show NRA News, Billy Johnson, put out a new video commentary called “Everyone Gets a Gun." During the speech, he not only proposes shooting and firearm safety education at a young age, Johnson even suggests this instruction could be “compulsory in schools” — regardless of whether or not a student’s parents approve.
“Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills. We would teach shooting and firearm competency,” he said. “It wouldn't matter if a child's parents weren't good at it. We'd find them a mentor. It wouldn't matter if they didn't want to learn. We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade.”
As Slate noted, with the NRA’s ties to the gun industry, this push for arming children could be a creative tactic for boosting firearm purchases in a seemingly disinterested demographic. According to Pew Research Center polling, in the 18-29 year-old demographic the percentage of gun owners is lower than in older age groups.
Beyond gun training, Johnson throws out the idea of designating certain places that would require individuals to be armed and ready. “What if instead of gun free-zones we had gun-required zones?” he asked.
'Sound crazy? Think about it. Education, healthcare, food, retirement — we subsidize things we value.'
In Johnson’s pro-guns utopia, the US would have a gun policy that is driven by “our need for guns” and that guns actually improve lives.
“We don’t have a US gun policy. We have a US anti-gun policy,” he said, noting that these policies are based on the idea “that guns are bad or dangerous.” Johnson backed up his views by explaining that "overreaching” gun policy in the US has failed to make things safer. Plus, it’s disrespecting the nation’s founding fathers.
"Our Founding Fathers believed that we did need guns. That's why they codified our access to guns into the Constitution," he said in the video. "But the idea of a gun policy that does justice to their intentions sounds ridiculous. What does that say about us? Even as Second Amendment advocates we can't fathom a world where we would treat guns as a need."
While providing some pro-gun policy suggestions, the commentator — who doesn’t want the government infringing on their Second Amendment rights to own a firearm — seems to be totally on board with government assistance that works in favor of gun owners. He recommends government allocated allotments for ammunition and federal firing ranges where people could shoot for free.
In 2013, Michigan’s state legislature approved a bill to teach gun safety in the state's schools.
Addressing potential skepticism over the plan, Johnson said: "Sound crazy? Think about it. Education, healthcare, food, retirement — we subsidize things we value. Gun policy, driven by our need for guns, would protect equal access to guns, just like we protect equal access to voting and due process, and free speech."
While these views may seem a bit out there, his ideas on mandatory gun safety may not be completely on the fringe. In 2013, Michigan’s state legislature approved a bill to teach gun safety in the state's schools. Legislatures in Wisconsin, Oregon, New York have all unsuccessfully attempted to require schools to implement the NRA’s own Eddie Eagle gun safety program.
Follow Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB
Photo by Flickr