In a recent Maine Voices column (June 4), Dr. Stephen Meister wrote of his support of L.D. 379, An Act to Protect Children by Requiring the Safe Storage of Loaded Firearms. In his commentary, he stresses the training in firearm handling and safety procedures he received while in the Navy. Which is good, but irrelevant to the bill he supported. (L.D. 379 was voted down by the Legislature last week.)

L.D. 379 merely would have proscribed a penalty for after the fact, and it just required firearm dealers to post notices and offer to demonstrate trigger locks. It would have done nothing to protect children. If it had been serious about protecting children, it would have taken a lesson from Dr. Meister and instituted firearm training throughout the schools, similar to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

Here’s a mental exercise. How many people lock up their car keys when they’re not using them? How about the riding lawn mower? Do you lock up your prescription medications? Maybe the liquor cabinet? Why not? Because we teach children not to fear them, but respect them. Not all homes have firearms, nor do all homes have cars. But we teach children in school how to operate a car safely. Why not firearms?

We teach schoolchildren about safe sex – how about safe firearm handling?

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