The debut of Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who Is America?” has made waves this week for catching lawmakers on the record supporting arming children as young as four. While this may seem absurd, it’s not a stretch from a program the National Rifle Association has been pushing for years.
As HuffPost analyzes, “Eddie Eagle” is the NRA’s attempt at a gun safety program targeting school children. With the help of a cartoon bald eagle in an eight minute animation, children in schools across the country can sing the jingle, “Stop! Don’t touch!” if they find a gun. Just as Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Kinder-Guardians” minimizes the insanity of arming children, Eddie Eagle downplays the gravity of unsecured firearms in the home.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Urban Health estimated that 4.6 million children currently live in homes with at least one unsecured firearm. According to the #NotAnAccident Index, in an average year, more than 280 Americans are injured or killed in an unintentional shooting by a child. So far in 2018, at least 26 children have shot and killed themselves unintentionally and another 15 have unintentionally shot and killed other children.
The Be SMART program, an acronym outlining responsible gun storage practices, takes a distinctly different approach than Eddie Eagle in helping prevent unintentional shootings by children. Be SMART holds adults and parents responsible for securing their guns to prevent a child from getting his or her hands on a firearm in the first place.
The Eddie Eagle program minimizes the issue of unsecured guns in American homes because it puts the onus on children to “know better” rather than on adults to responsibly secure their firearms. If you are interested in learning more about this issue or the Be SMART program, please don’t hesitate to reach out.