As a strong supporter of the second amendment, member of the
NRA and holder of a gun permit, Shaver said he has concerns
about gun safety. He said everyone should have the
opportunity to learn at least the basics of gun safety.
"As Obama would say, if it would save the life of one child,
it would all be worth it," he said.
Shaver said he comes to the board of education not as a
commissioner but as a parent and grandparent with the safety
of all children in mind. Many of these children would never
have the opportunity to learn any gun safety anywhere else,
"How often do we hear of shooting accidents, especially
among children, that could have been so easily prevented
with proper safety education?" he asked.
"Politicians often call for more regulations on
law-abiding gun owners which we all know does no good.
President Obama says if we could save the life of one child,
all his regulations would be worth it."
Kenny Ridings, a Loudon police officer, a former School
Resource Officer and hunter safety education trainer, said
he's interested in looking into the program. He said he's
proposed hunter safety education in the past but the idea
hasn't gotten much traction.
"It would be something to look into," he said.
School board member Jeremy Buckles said he is open to
exploring firearms safety training and said he will bring it
up during the February school workshop held on first
Thursday of the month, which is Feb. 4.
Buckles said in the past the Loudon schools offered the
hunter safety training needed to get a hunting license as an
after-school program. The program was discontinued under a
previous school board, he said.
"I believe it's an important part of education. The
parents should also take responsibility," he said.
Former Loudon County Commissioner David Twiggs is East
Tennessee Group Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense
in America. He said he's for teaching children to be smart
by avoiding guns and for parents to act responsibly by
asking whether there are guns in the homes where their
children might visit. He said he wouldn't support any kind
of gun training that involves bringing actual guns into
"I trust in God more than guns," he said.
Will Crawford, parent of a Loudon High School student,
said he's OK with safety training but has some reservations.
"Well, there are goods and bads. Students with anger
disciplinary issues or gang ties can't be allowed. All
depends on the class goals/curriculum," he said.
Loudon parent Wendy Baustian said far too many children
die from accidental gun violence.
"I am a huge advocate of education and guns are no
different. If educating kids on the dangers of firearms save
just one life, then I think it is worth considering it,
providing the class is conducted similar to the D.A.R.E.
program from the perspective of safety and education and
done by a licensed professional," she said.
Baustian said she would suggest some guidelines.
"So long as they don't get actual hands-on training, I
think educating kids could go a long way. They can tie it
into a discussion on gangs or peer pressure but I think it
can be worked into the discussions at all levels and
reinforce safety," she said.
Shaver said guns are so much a part of the American way
of life that it only makes sense to integrate them into the
"Doesn't it make sense that everyone have the best
possible understanding and knowledge of the proper use of
guns?" he asked.
School Resource Officers currently work in every school,
are highly trained with knowledge and background in all
aspects of gun safety and could provide basic gun safety
training to all children in the school system, said Shaver.
The training would be optional and parents who don't want
their children to take the safety course could opt out, he
Knox County Schools provide basic firearms safety
training to elementary schoolchildren through the National
Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle program. Katy Davis is a
licensed teacher working for the Knox County Sheriff's
Office. She has been teaching firearms safety to children
for 23 years.
Davis said there are guns in almost every home in East
Tennessee. Across the country five to 10 children are shot
accidentally every day, she said.
"We teach them that if they see a gun to stop, don't
touch, run away, tell a grown up," she said.