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Gun safety classes for elementary school kids

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) -- A gun safety course run by Watson Chamber Defense Institute is targeted towards children in grades 1st - 4th for their safety. 

Tami Watson, an instructor for the class, explained that children are never too young to know how to be safe around firearms. 

"We feel that it's our job as a community partner to team up with moms and dads, school teachers, churches, girl scout troops, boy scouts, to help these kids be able to make adult decision when adults are not present," she said. 

Tuesday, 11 children took their seats at Watson Chamber Defense Institute for a beginners class to gun safety. The youngest attendee was 6 years old, sitting on an adult's lap. 

"Raise your hand if you have a gun in your house," Watson said to the class, as a few children raised their hands. "How many of you aren't sure if there's a gun in your house?"

As children began participating, Watson explained that she teaches gun safety because little kids are around guns and could easily come across an unattended gun someday. 

"There's a lot of things we need to know to keep ourselves safe as kids. Okay?" she said to the class. 

Watson explained the various parts of a gun, including how to see if a gun is loaded. However, she said you shouldn't ever touch a gun or check if it's loaded without an adult present. 

The children also watched her explain what a magazine, bullet, and shell casing is, and that they should not pick up a casing they might find on the ground in case it has a fingerprint on it and could be evidence for an investigation. 

She also held up a section of drywall to explain how a bullet can travel through a wall into another room of the house if it is fired. The children weren't expected to take notes or a test at the end of the class, and are encouraged to take the class as many times as needed to understand the material. 

"I kind of feel scared of them sometimes but then the other times I feel like im safe around them because they can also protect me," said Lilli Donica, a 9-year-old class participant. "If I accidentally pick up a gun and I point it the wrong way, or like shoot it at somebody that I can't shoot it at or something, I could hurt him or I could hurt myself." 

Lilli Donica's mother, Chris Donica, attended the class Tuesday and said when she was a child, she knew there were guns in her home but was never taught how to be safe around them. She wants her children to understand what guns can do, and what they shouldn't do. 

"I want my especially my youngest one, who is very inquisitive, to know the safety aspects of that and to be able to feel safe in her own home," said Chris Donica.  

Watson Chambers Defense Institute holds classes for children in 1st - 4th grades and for children in 5th-8th grades. Older children have the opportunity to visit the shooting range and fire BB guns or pellet rifles. 
 
The short course is 90 minutes, $25 per child, and is mainly lecture-based. The day course is from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., $100 per child, and includes more hands-on activities. Parents are welcome to attend the short course and attend the closing ceremonies on the day course. 

Learn more about the child gun safety classes at the Watson Chambers Defense Institute website. 
 


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