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To the editor:

I am very happy to see the state move forward with a gun safety program. I raised my family in Alaska and taught such a course at the 5th grade level. All students were required to take the course, which focused first on gun safety and then on hunter safety. We had some great videos which captured exactly what can happen when gun safety and hunter safety is not followed. It was a real eye opener to the students, and statistics showed that during the time this course was in place, fewer accidents and deaths occurred. We even had parents joining their children for the course, and believe me they learned a great deal as well.

Education in this area is most important and makes much more sense than limiting the use of guns, which is a right given us under the Constitution. Students were taught how to hold a gun and rifle, how to check to see if it was loaded and how to dismantle any ammo safely. They were shown how to safely store a gun or rifle and what to do if they came upon one that seemed to be abandoned and who to contact. Our course was not taught by peace officers but one was on hand to answer any questions. It seems to be less intimidating and more natural to have an experienced individual knowledgeable in firearms to teach the course. We had a number of videos, not just one five-minute one, and our course went for six sessions. The videos depicting situations that could be encountered when hunting were fantastic and required interaction from the students to choice which depicting was the safe course to follow.

I hope the state will expand their thoughts on this program and include hunter safety as well. Of course the prime focus should be on gun safety but I believe they truly go hand in hand.