Michigan legislation would allow hunter safety courses in schools
LANSING (WNDU/WILX) - Newly introduced legislation in the Michigan House would allow hunter safety courses to be taught in Michigan schools.
It would be an elective for the sixth through 12th graders, taught by a certified instructor at no cost to the students or school.
An age-old Michigan pastime and a tool to control the deer population is decreasing in popularity. With registered hunters on the decline, Michigan legislators have been working with the DNR to increase interest among young people.
“Gun safety continues to be a huge void, and this will give students the opportunity to take it,” said Rep. Curt Vanderwall, R-Ludington.
Bills in the Michigan House and Senate would allow for a new elective in Michigan’s public schools: firearms safety instruction.
Students who have completed the course will be considered qualified to purchase a hunting license if they choose to do so. The village in Lansing has been teaching kids gun safety for a few years and they say it’s important because abstinence doesn’t work.
“Kids are picking guns up, hurting themselves and others at an all-time high, and a lot of that could be solved with just a little education,” said Michael Lynn Jr., an executive director for the Village Lansing.
While on school grounds, students will have to use plastic educational materials just like this one. However, toward the end of the course, students will have the option to head to an off-site location and practice with real guns.
“Everything that will be done in the school setting will be no guns, no ammunition. the final part of the class, if they opt to take that, will be done at one of the sportsman’s clubs off-site,” Rep. Vanderwall said.
Although some field day trainings use fake guns, other field day trainings use real ones. While the field portion and the class itself would be optional -- End Gun Violence Michigan says curiosity often gets the best of young children -- despite their education.
“So it’s certainly not a bad thing to do, but it has to be done in combination with other sorts of interventions like safe storage,” said Ryan Bates, executive director of End Gun Violence Michigan.
Two bills in Michigan’s state capitol with two goals: increasing safety and increasing hunters.
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