Meadow Lands Elementary School will host an informational session on firearms safety facilitated by Bill Fannin, who is the education program leader and wildlife conservation officer with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
The program will begin at 1 p.m. Wed., Nov. 28, in the school’s Imagination Station learning area, and will involve fourth- and fifth-grade students participating with parental permission. NOTE: THERE WILL BE NO REAL FIREARMS OR LIVE AMMUNITION ON SCHOOL PROPERTY. The training will use inoperable model guns with orange safety tips.
Principal Kevin Lowe said, “Our goal at Meadow Lands Elementary School is to teach students to be productive, giving members of society. We emphasize skills and knowledge that will help them reach their dreams and ambitions in life. We believe it is important to provide students with knowledge and understanding to make responsible choices.”
Fannin said that in more than 30 years of teaching gun safety, he is convinced of the importance of these messages. “I always ask kids how many of them have a gun in their home and 95 percent raise their hands,” he said. “I want them to understand that there are fun things we can do with guns like hunting, competitive shooting, or just shooting for fun, but that the number one rule is to always have supervision with an experienced adult and to follow all the rules. There is no room for mistakes with guns. It is not a video game where you get to hit ‘reset’ and play again.”
Fannin said more than 50 percent of accidents involving guns happen in the home and not in the field. “Guns should be unloaded in the house,” he said. “I hope they tell their parents that lesson right there.”
Fannin’s education program includes his “10 Commandments of Gun Safety,” and he shares real examples of events that have happened in Kentucky. “I also try to have fun teaching the program so the kids stay interested in what I am saying,” Fannin said, including stories with two humorous characters, Billy Bob and Jimmy Bob, as examples of “what not to do.”
“Even though I have presented this program thousands of times, I always leave a school hoping it will make a difference in keeping a kid safe,” Fannin said. “If it only saves one kid, than it has been well worth it.”
The program emphasizes responsible gun ownership as well as overall safety. “I encourage kids to take our hunter education course, but nothing replaces learning from an experienced and responsible adult gun owner,” Fannin said. “I learned so much from my dad and other adult hunters and gun shooters as I was growing up. There is so much negative news about guns today so I hope the program I give is a positive message to how one can enjoy guns if handled with respect and in the right way.”