A significant drop in the number of hunters in West Virginia has left a hole in the state's budget, and one lawmaker thinks he has a solution: Allow children to receive hunter training in school.Let's be honest does the appearance of a gun foster school violence. I don't think it does as much as I don't think that there isn't reason for a student to bring a gun to school (well aside from instructional purposes, if you will, as in this case). Perhaps I'd rather a student learns how to use a firearm from a qualified instructor (especially for hunting if not self-defense) than to have someone unqualified teach them. Consider it a form of teaching responsibility.
Children as young as 10 years old are already eligible for hunting licenses in the state, but training courses are typically offered outside of school. Proponents of the plan hope embedding training during school hours boosts interest.
Seventh- through ninth-graders could opt for instruction in topics ranging from survival skills to gun safety, but the weapons would have dummy ammunition or be disabled. Sen. Billy Wayne Bailey, who introduced the bill this month, doesn't envision students 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," said Bailey, a Wyoming County Democrat.
In the face of national concern about school violence, the presence of even disabled guns in school could seem incongruous, but some gun control advocates say careful supervision can ease concerns.
The primary concern of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is children with unauthorized access to guns, spokesman Brian Malte said, and the organization has no problem with supervised training programs.
"We let TV babysit our children," Bailey said. "This is a way to teach them there's a real consequence every time you pull a trigger."
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