NC House Bill 612 wants to allow firearms education in high schools

No live ammunition would be used or present

North Carolina House Representatives Adams, Henson, Boswell and Presnell introduced a bill on April 5 that seeks to create firearms classes in NC high schools.

House Bill 612, if it becomes law, would allow local boards of election to offer a “comprehensive firearm education elective course developed and identified by the State Board of Education.” The course would be offered as an elective, taught by a supervisor approved by the high school principal and no live ammunition would be used or present.

The bill explains that the course would include education of history, mathematics and science as they relate to firearms, as well as firearm safety education.

Some support the bill, saying that firearm education is vital for safety before obtaining a firearm in the future. This move teaches students how to be safe when handling these weapons before actually using them. 18-year-olds can purchase shotguns and rifles under federal law, while one must be 21 years old in order to purchase a handgun.

Yes, this course would teach teenagers how to properly use these weapons and would not involve handling. But where does this road lead? As Chapel Hill teacher Rachel Finkelstein noted in a recent letter to the editor of The Charlotte Observer,

“What I do know is that my senators believe that their right to own and carry firearms is more important. How many more San Bernardinos will there be before there’s a Raleigh or Chapel Hill? When will our senators advocate for gun laws that restrict assault weapons that are designed to fire multiple rounds without reloading?”

While we recognize the Second Amendment and no one wants to take away anyone’s guns, how do we know that high school is the place to learn the proper use of firearms?

Would more acknowledgement of firearms only lead to more violence inside schools? Since the bill does not allow live ammunition, there would be no target or shooting practice in the course. But, what place do firearms have in schools whatsoever? North Carolina schools are weapons-free environments, so why encourage use of the weapons outside of the school?

The bill may seem to want children to be educated before handling firearms, but allowing this in high schools does not serve the public’s best interest. If the legislation wants to offer free classes to the public outside of the school, and for adults, we would have a different argument on our hands. But guns have no place in schools and it needs to stay that way.