by Sam Levin
State Senator Dan Brown is not trying to teach all Missouri first-graders how to use guns. But a lot of people think he is.
A frustrated Brown tells Daily RFT that his proposed school safety and training bill, which was introduced exactly one day before the tragic Sandy Hook massacre, would mandate that first-graders across the state go through the "Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program," which is a lesson that comes from the National Rifle Association.
"It doesn't do anything to train kids to shoot guns," says Brown, a Republican. "I'm getting all kinds of hell for that."
So what would the bill do?
Senate Bill 75 is legislation to "require school districts and charter schools to provide training and education about firearms safety and addressing potentially dangerous or armed intruders."
It's a package deal that includes a so-called Active Shooter and Intruder Response Training for Schools, which covers how teachers and school employees must respond to students with information about a threatening situation -- and what to do when a dangerous or armed intruder is in the building.
Part of that program includes a simulated active shooter and intruder-response drill.
And then each school district and charter school must annually teach the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program -- the aspect of his proposal that is sparking a lot of controversy. It includes this short video:
"If you see a firearm, stop what you're doing, don't touch it, and get out of the area. Report to an adult," says Brown, explaining the message of the video. "It's pretty simple stuff."
Brown says most people are slamming the proposal, simply because it happens to be a video tied to the NRA.
"Nowhere in the video does it refer to the NRA," he says, adding, "they actually do things other than promote guns!"
"It has nothing to do with guns except avoiding them," he says of the class.
Brown says he was motivated to create this bill, in part because he has five grandchildren in public schools and a daughter and daughter-in-law who are both teachers.
"It is important to me," he says. "I don't want anyone else to get killed."
School safety is so significant to him, that he put this bill forward even though it contradicts his normal politics, he says: "I'll be very honest. I don't like mandates. I don't like more government."
He continues, "Schoolchildren train for fire drills, train for tornadoes. Teachers need to know what appears to be the best thing to do."
Continue for more of our interview with Dan Brown and the full draft bill.
He emphasizes that his bill purposely does not have anything to do with arming teachers.
The bill will likely be debated at an executive session next week.
"I really hope it gets to the floor...for a civil discussion," he adds, "where people can get the feeling that I am not absolutely nuts and that this could be helpful."
More from our Politics archive: "Right-to-Work: Rep. Eric Burlison Pushing Controversial Labor Bill Despite Tough Odds"