In Wake of Gun Debates, Minnesota DNR Teaching Kids How to Handle Guns Safely

April 05, 2017 11:01 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- DNR officials in small Minnesota town is teaching young hunters to handle dangerous weapons carefully.

To the south, Iowa has made steps to modify the state's gun bill, and safety is a concern.


"You got to teach them, you know, teach them what a gun is and how to be safe with it otherwise they're just going to be curious,” said Iowa teen Laurie Gibson.

One part of the bill would allow children under the age of 14 to shoot handguns with adult supervision. Although it has already passed the Iowa senate, and is expected to pass in the house, some don't agree with the decision.

"The most effective solution to preventing firearm injury and death in children is to reduce children's access to firearms," said Dr. Amy Shriver with Blank Children’s Pediatric Clinic.

Just across the border in Minnesota, nearly a dozen kids, including two from Iowa, are learning about gun safety.

"We don't teach the kids how to hunt. We teach the kids how to hunt safely," said Mike Gehrke, a Minnesota DNR Hunter Safety Instructor.

Gehrke said what thE kids are learning is new to them. In six days, they learn how to handle guns safely and responsibly, what to do if they get lost or are in an accident while hunting.

"By the third and fourth classroom time, they won't take a gun from someone without asking them is it unloaded, is the safety on, is the action open?" said Gehrke.

Gehrke said since the country implemented a hunter safety program, it's made an impact. He said the number of hunters has increased dramatically in the last 25 years, while the number of accidental injuries has dramatically decreased.

Classes are taught throughout southern Minnesota. You can find out how to take part here.


Marissa Collins

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