“BE SAFE”, GUN SAFETY FOR KIDS
Group encourages widespread gun safety message for kids
(for immediate release, March 29, 2018)
MISSOULA – The “Be Safe” gun safety program for kids is the most widespread and readily available gun safety program for children in Montana. Provided by the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA), Be Safe has been the primary program for children’s gun safety in Montana for over 20 years. Be Safe is approved by the Montana Legislature, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and law enforcement as a good way to deliver an effective gun safety message to children.
Designed for children in first through third grades, Be Safe is a short story about how one responsible but imaginary Montana family deals with gun safety issues in the home environment. Typically, a presenter will read the story to children in a class at school, in church groups, or in other youth groups.
The presenter will then hand out copies of the material to children and ask children to take it home and have parents read the story to the child and siblings one more time before the child goes to bed. This reinforces the message, involves siblings, and offers parents a carefully designed gun safety strategy for application in the home. MSSA has distributed over 100,000 copies of the Be Safe material to Montana schools, gun clubs, and parents since the inception of the program.
MSSA has deliberately withheld any copyright protection for the Be Safe material, so that any interested person may reproduce the Be Safe material. That material and supporting documents are publicly available at:
MSSA President Gary Marbut commented, “For all those concerned about firearms and child safety, we encourage the widest possible application of Be Safe in Montana. We have no idea how many children’s lives have been saved over the years because of Be Safe. It must be some, maybe many. But, we can do better. That’s why we encourage all Montana people to ramp up delivery of Be Safe to children in schools and any other possible venues.”
Marbut notes that enhancing Be Safe delivery to Montana children is especially timely with all the recent national concern about child safety and firearms. Be Safe is designed to reach children of an age when they are very receptive to a gun safety message. “It’s better to get some firearm safety information to kids when they are receptive and before they get into an older, know-it-all stage of development.”
“Be Safe is free and available to everyone,” Marbut continued, “and anyone who is honestly concerned about child safety will help responsible gun owners spread the word.”
Be Safe includes suggested rules about gun safety that parents can apply in their home. Marbut says that even though Montana is a “gun rich environment,” Montana only has 48% of the national average of “kid/gun misadventures” per 100,000 population, probably because of Montana’s gun-friendly culture. Despite this good record, Marbut maintains, Montana can do even better with a wider delivery of Be Safe. Marbut defines a “kid/gun misadventure” as an incident in which someone 14 years or younger injures themselves or another with a firearm.
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Information: Gary Marbut, 549-1252; mssa AT mtssa DOT org