NRA child gun-safety effort transcends partisan politics
It’s not often a Democratic Arizona lawmaker joins forces with the National Rifle Association.
But Saturday, Rep. Diego Espinoza, D-Tolleson, and the NRA joined West Valley law enforcement in a nonpartisan effort to teach children about gun safety.
The event, held at Pot of Gold Estate auction house in downtown Avondale, utilized the NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun safety program to teach kids from kindergarten through fifth grade.
About 40 kids and their parents attended.
Participants watched the Eddie Eagle video, a cartoon about a group of kids that find a gun at the park and don’t know what to do.
A catchy song and dance remind the kids how they should handle the situation: “Stop. Don’t touch. Run away. Tell a grown-up.”
After the video, the group did interactive activities to help the kids narrow down who qualifies as a grown-up they can tell about guns; they sang the song and danced with Eddie Eagle.
Free gun locks were handed out to parents as well, courtesy of the Goodyear Police Department.
Espinoza said he thought the event was “phenomenal,” and he plans to work with other communities to put on more events like this in the future.
“I’ve been speaking to parents, and they are extremely excited about the program and, when asking their children, they did learn something,” Espinoza said. “Thanks to the NRA and everyone else that partnered up, it was a very successful event.”
Irene Hernandez said this was the first gun safety event she’d brought her kids to, despite having guns in the house. Her kids are 5, 7 and 8, and she said she was excited to find a way to teach them about gun safety in a way they would understand.
“It was really good,” Hernandez said. “If I had known this program existed, I would have gotten involved with it years ago.”
Cheryl and Dan Todd, the owners of Pot of Gold Estate, said this is not the first Eddie Eagle program they’ve hosted, and they stressed the importance of teaching gun safety to all kids.
“Whether you have a pool in your backyard or not, you teach your kids to swim,” Cheryl Todd said. “Whether you have a firearm in your home or not, why not empower our youth with knowledge and education on how to stay safe?”
Todd said gun safety and the NRA in general have become very politicized, but she doesn’t want that to deter anyone from the Eddie Eagle program.
“A lot of people see the NRA and assume the program is just designed to get kids interested in guns, but it’s the exact opposite — it’s telling them to stay away,” Todd said. “It’s all about safety, there’s no political agenda.”
Dan Todd said this was the biggest gun safety event Pot of Gold Estate has hosted, and he is excited to see the community responding to such an important issue.
“We had an event like this about a year ago, but the turnout was much better this time,” he said. “With the crowd we saw, who knows how many lives we saved today?”
Kids and local law enforcement dance with Eddie Eagle while learning about gun safety.