Arizona Wants to Use Public Schools to Destigmatize Guns


The Arizona House of Representatives works hard to ensure gun rights for Grand Canyon State residents. The Arizona House of Representatives has passed several bills, including legalizing silencers for guns and allowing parents to bring firearms onto school campuses. HB 2332 is another bill that has raised eyebrows. It will require middle schools and high schools to provide training on proper firearm handling. Arizona’s NPR reports that parents could still opt out. Despite this provision, Moms Demand Action (AZ) and Civic Engagement Beyond Voting (CA) are protesting the measure.

PHOENIX — The Arizona House of Representatives continues to push a bill that requires public high and middle schools to provide training in the safe handling of firearms.

Rep. Selina Bizzell, R-Prescott who sponsored HB 2332, stated that she wanted children to be taught proper firearm handling by experts in order to prevent accidental deaths and denied that the bill was intended to teach children how to use firearms.

Two high school students testified against this bill, as did two other opponents. They fear that the training will reduce school resources and encourage a gun culture in public schools.

I can remember when gun clubs were offered in schools. High school yearbooks would display photographs of gun clubs to show student engagement. They featured photos of members of the clubs with their rifles, and images of them practicing target practice. Guns are no longer considered dangerous and scary thanks to Moms Demand Action, Bloomberg-funded, and other groups like it. They can now be used for self-defense, teaching proficiency, and safety, but they are also used in a variety of ways. Properly equipped with tools and knowledge, you can build respect and caution and be able to react to gunmen without fear. This is the cause of shootings and deaths. Organizations like Moms Demand Action help to make gun-free zones safe.

The Arizona Education Association (AEA), is not also on board. This is also the same entity that opposed Doug Ducey’s signing of the school choice bill into legislation. They want more government funding to support their agenda and not parents deciding where taxpayer money will go. They want their children to be active activists and not critical thinkers. This is why they have a page dedicated to the Marxist #RedforEd Movement. This is another story.

Arizona Education Association opposed the bill because it is just another unfunded mandate.

Isela Blanc (legislative liaison for the AEA), stated that “we have too many unfunded mandates that are having a detrimental impact on our public schools” at a House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee meeting held on February 6. The bill was passed by the committee by 8-7 votes, and it was approved by the House Rules Committee by a 5-3 vote on February 13.

There are also two high school students that voiced their opposition at the first hearing of the committee. The students claim that not enough funding would be available for classes they consider more important.

Bridgette Hanson, a Gilbert High School freshman, stated that gun training would reduce our school’s primary priority and sole responsibility, which is to educate students in areas that prepare them to be productive, valuable members of society. She added that her seventh-grade newspaper class was canceled because of a lack of funding.

It’s amazing that only two people were available to testify. Scholaroo says Arizona has the lowest per-pupil spending. They still beat California, which has some of the highest per-pupil spendings, but the lowest graduation rates. It is hard to know if they are just repeating talking points or if these legitimate concerns are being raised. Moms Demand Action, which is heavily involved in lobbying and funding the bill’s demise, has my money on the latter.

Moms Demand Action is a non-profit group that advocates for stronger gun laws. Be SMART stands for Secure, Model, Ask, Recognize, and Tell, which is a firearm safety program. Kelley Ireland, co-leader for Be SMART Tucson, stated that the program is designed to help parents and firearms owners take responsibility. Ireland said that firearm safety training sessions for schools could “traumatize children.”

Children are traumatized by training sessions. Gun-free zones without active shooters are also possible.

This legislative push is smart. They won’t be able to restrict students from any of these visual media because they glorify the wrong kind of gun culture. It’s time to counter this with real knowledge, tools, and resources about how guns should be handled and promoted the right kind of gun culture: one that promotes safety, skill, and community over thrill-seeking.