West Virginia may offer gun and hunter safety classes in schools.
A significant drop in the number of hunters in West Virginia has left multimillion dollar holes in the state’s budget and one lawmaker thinks he has the solution: allow children to receive hunter training in school.
The economic impact of hunters and sport shooters has been discussed before, and it’s also something that the NSSF will be holding press conference about during SHOT ’08. One of the things that a lot of anti’s don’t realize is how much money the state’s make in license fees, deer tags, taxes, and sundry other fees off of hunters and shooters.
Children would be instructed in everything from survival skills to gun safety, but the guns would either have dummy ammunition or be disabled in some way. Sen. Billy Wayne Bailey, who introduced the bill, doesn’t envision West Virginia’s middle-schoolers firing real guns during class time.
“It’s a way to take this kind of education in the classroom and make it more convenient for young people,” the Wyoming County Democrat said.
It’s a fantastic idea. The fact of the matter is that the hunting population is getting older, this has been recognized by the NSSF and several other groups who have formed various campaigns to try to get more young hunters into the field. By offering firearms instruction in the classroom during school hours, you get the opportunity to expose more kids to hunting, and the shooting sports in general.
I’m always, always in favor of getting young people shooting, and I also think that opening different avenues for them to have more access to safe training on gunhandling is always a good thing.
Hunters Education is already offered in most high schools throughout the state. I have not problem doing it earlier (middle school) or with pushing the class more. Actually, I’m personally aware of some High Schools where it is “mandatory”… i.e. – they don’t force you to take it, but they assume you will take it because everyone does.
Another point of fact… in some counties, the opening day of deer season is a holiday. No school, no work. Offices shut down entirely.
Hunting is alive and well in WV, but the point about needing a new generation of hunters has never been more true.
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