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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dan Casey Joins Chorus Against Eddie Eagle

On July 1, a number of new laws will take effect in the Commonwealth. One of those new laws, House Bill 1217, was introduced by Del. Lynwood Lewis, (D-Accomack County) which allows local school boards to offer firearm safety education programs in the elementary grades. The State Board of Education must establish a standardized program of firearm safety education for students in the elementary school grades and the bill requires that the program objectives incorporate, among other principles of firearm safety, accident prevention and the rules of the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program.

For some reason, this seems to cause some editorial writers heartburn. Not long after the bill passed with Governor McDonnell's amendments, Michael Shannon with the Prince William News and Messenger wrote:

In this latest outrage, the General Assembly has directed the state's Board of Education to produce a curriculum for teaching gun safety to elementary school children that incorporates the advice of the National Rifle Association.

I guess it should not surprise me that the Roanoke Times' Dan Casey has joined in. Since his favorite target for the last year, online training qualifying for the training required for a concealed handgun permit, has not lead to mass shootings, another target was needed to fill his OP/ED space. Casey infers that it's payback for the NRA election activity on McDonnell's behalf last year.

The new law prescribes a gun-education curriculum for Virginia elementary schools, based upon materials provided by the National Rifle Association's "Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program."

Late in the game, Gov. Bob McDonnell made a seemingly innocuous change that effectively limited curriculum input to the NRA.

That came after the NRA's political action committee spent $622,000 last fall on radio, television and online ads promoting McDonnell for governor.

The change to which Casey refers is the correction of an error made by the Legislative Services staff who drafted a Senate amendment to the bill at the request of Senator Richard Saslaw. Casey makes a passing reference to the fact that the amendment was drafted incorrectly and named an organization (National Crime Prevention Center) that did not exist. It is likely that Saslaw told the LS staff National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) but NCPC made it known that they did not have an up-to-date firearm safety curriculum so Governor McDonnell amended the bill back to the form in which it passed the House. The Senate overwhelmingly concurred.

Casey also did not miss the chance to slip in Josh Sugarmann's (Violence Policy Center) comparison of Eddie Eagle to Joe Camel as if the Eddie Eagle program would encourage children to be interested in guns. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both of my elementary school aged children know the message delivered by the program and have the DVD provided by the NRA. I have yet to find either of them standing in front of my gun safe trying to figure out how to open it to gain access to one of the many firearms stored inside.

Casey tries to come off as not being anti-gun all the while being very snarky when he writes on the topic. One sure gets the feeling reading his articles that he fits in very nicely with the anti-gun editors of the Roanoke Times.

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