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All about the little coloring book that caused a national controversy.

All About The Little Coloring Book That Caused A National Controversy

And just what kind of coloring book could cause a national controversy?

One that's published by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and stresses gun safety for children -- that's what kind.

To children this coloring book is simply a lesson on what to do when they find a gun. To the anti-gunners and much of the media, it's an insidious piece of progun propaganda designed to instantly turn kids into "gun nuts."

To me this coloring book is an incredible example of the pure hypocrisy of the anti's. These are the people who scream the loudest when a child is injured or killed in a gun accident. Yet they oppose efforts to educate children about gun safety even though polls clearly show that half the homes in this country contain firearms.

Could it be that the anti's are more concerned about their political agenda than the safety of children? Would I be overly callous too even suggest that some of the most fanatic anti's might even fear that teaching gun safety would undermine their efforts to disarm Americans?

Perhaps I am being too rough on our opponents. But I would note that in its tirade against teaching gun safety in schools, Florida's St. Petersburg Times declared, "To try to teach gun safety in the schools is to attack the problem from its narrowest perspective...The better question is why are guns so accessible to childre?"

The theme of the editorial appeared to be: Why bother with gun safety? Just get rid of the guns, and then you won't need to worry about teaching firearms safety to children.

The "Times" was only one of dozens of papers and organizations to attack the NRA's latest efforts to bring gun safety to America's children -- including the now famous coloring book.

The eight-page coloring book, which is entitled "My Gun Safety Book," is about the most innocent looking piece of literature you can imagine. On the colorful front cover is Eddie Eagle and Dick and Jane. Eddie is saying: "Always be safe!"

On page one, Eddie states, "Only with a parent should you be around guns." The brief story, which is accompanied with pages to color, reads as follows:

"Someone left a gun in an unsafe place. Dick and Jane found the gun. Dick said, `Stop, Jane. Don't touch the gun.' Dick and Jane left the area. `Mommy, we found a gun.'"

The story concludes with the mother telling Dick and Jane, "I am proud of you for telling me so I could put it away."

On the bottom of the pages is the message: "Stop -- Don't Touch...Leave The Area...Tell An Adult."

On the back is: "A Message To Your Parents," which states, "The purpose of this coloring book is to promote the protection and safety of children, not to teach whether guns are good or bad. You, as a parent, are responsible for teaching values and good judgement to your child.

"Federal officials estimate there are guns in one half of the households in this country. If you own a gun, it is your responsibility to keep the gun inaccessible to untrained and unauthorized persons.

"Even if no one in your family owns a gun, chances are that someone you know does. Your child could come in contact with a gun at a neighbor's house or when playing with friends.

"Your child is being taught the steps to take when he or she sees a gun. It is important for you to reinforce those basic safety rules.

"The child is learning not to touch a gun unless you, the parent, are present and/or give your permission. The safety message is contained within this coloring book..."

The coloring book appears to be both educational and politically neutral. Yet, to the anti-gunners it is the equivalent of Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto all rolled into one. Their hysterics have been incredible.

One person unaffected by their antics was Rev. Paul Lindstrom, superintendent of the Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. In December (1988), this 325-student school distributed copies of the NRA coloring book to students from kindergarten through fifth grade. The Christian Liberty Academy's affiliates and home-schooling program involve a total of 25,000 students.

Lindstrom dismissed criticism of the coloring book, telling Associated Press, "It's a knee jerk reaction that is ridiculous and non-scholarly."

"I don't have any great love for the American Civil Liberties Union, but if the ACLU comes out with a coloring book that says you shouldn't go with strangers who offer candy, I'll use that coloring book in the school," Lindstrom added.

"I'm an educator. I'm interested in the message," Lindstrom said. "We use books from all kinds of publishers. They might have all kinds of political agendas."

Before the school instituted the gun safety training, parents were given the option of taking their children out of that particular class. School officials said that none of the parents asked to have their child excused.

The NRA is not surprised by the uproar, according to Tracey Martin, who heads the coloring book project for the NRA's Training and Education Division. "It's only controversial because it's the NRA's," she said.

Ms. Martin said requests for copies of the coloring books have come in from public school districts in Nebraska, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida and Illinois.

The coloring books are actually just part of an educational kit the NRA has put together. These kits include other items such as posters and activity sheets. There is one kit for kindergarten through the second grade and another for grades three through six.

The NRA will promote the program through magazines and by attending education association trade shows. "However, we would rather that our individual members support it -- people with children in local school districts," Ms. Martin added.

The 2.8 million NRA members around the country certainly have hundreds of thousands of children in thousands of school districts.

Dealers who would like to distribute copies of "My Gun Safety Book" may call the NRA's sales warehouse. The first 50 coloring books are free. Additional packets of 50 books are available for $10.00. Posters are $2.00 each.

The number for persons calling outside Virginia is: 1-800/336-7402; inside Virginia: 703/683-8666.

The NRA's focus on children and gun safety seems to have caught the attention of the anti-gunners. The DadeCounty, Florida school system drew up its own poster which simply states: "Guns Kill. Say No To Guns."

Also, Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), probably the most outspoken anti-gunners in the U.S. Senate, has written the government's General Accounting Office (GAO) requesting that agency conduct a study of firearms and related accidents involving fatalities or injuries and seeking guidelines for "child-proofing" guns.

In his letter, Metzenbaum claimed that approximately 2,000 people are killed by accidental discharges of firearms each year and that many more are injured. Actually, that 2,000 figure is the total of all fatal firearms accidents -- many of which do not involve the accidental discharge of a gun.

Metzenbaum requested that the GAO undertake a study which would examine:

* The number of adults and children

injured or killed each year

by firearms;

* The circumstances under which

these accidental shootings occur;

* The technical feasibility of

requiring various safety devices

that could prevent these accidental

shootings;

* The probable costs associated

with different safety devices.

"If pharmaceutical companies, toy manufacturers and other producers of household goods are able to protect children from accidental injury," Metzenbaum wrote, "Why shouldn't gun manufacturers do the same?

"GOA should examine the technical and economic feasibility of installing safety devices in order to develop approaches which do not unreasonably burden firearms manufacturers or unnecessarily prevent the production of any particular lawful firearm."

Although pro-gun leaders are strong supporters of gun safety, they are concerned that the anti's are simply looking for another foot in the door toward banning guns rather than real safety measures. remains the Ruger 10-22, followed by paramilitary centerfire rifles. Semiautomatic 9mm pistols continue to sell briskly, in part, because of the new interest shown in them by law enforcement and military personnel. Guns that are scarce, such as the Ruger P-85, sell as fast as they come into the store. Sales of riot shotguns seem to be lower since a high point sometime ago.

Security Measures

Security measures at B&B are extensive and include an in-house security force and multiple cameras. B&B Sales also has quick police response time and a good rapport with police and law enforcement agencies, which are a mutual benefit to everyone. Police and fire personnel in uniform have priority when they come to purchase weapons at either store. Salesmen are armed more as a deterrent to prospective criminals than anything else. An employee at the door keeps a watchful eye on people who enter and checks merchandise on its way out.

Future Of The Firearms Industry

When asked to predict the future of the firearms retail industry, Bob Kahn said: "I see the industry gravitating towards medium-sized combination retail/wholesale operations and to giant wholesalers. It is increasingly difficult because of the dollar value of merchandise that you must stock for tiny businesses to gain a foothold." Although the successful story of his own endeavors proves that it can be done with hard work, efficiency and dedication to the consumer.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:My Gun Safety Book
Author:Schneider, Jim
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:column
Date:Mar 1, 1989
Words:1566
Previous Article:DC gun control laws - ammo for anti-gun people.
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