SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Special Report: Nonprofit teaching children gun safety

The Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation aims to protect families and children through firearm safety education with hands-on experience developing safe practices on and off the range.

Posted: Jul 3, 2019 11:11 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Kids and guns: two words that are usually connected with tragedy, but for Derek LeBlanc, the two go hand in hand, all in the name of safety.

LeBlanc is president of the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at helping protect families and children through firearm safety education with hands-on experience developing safe practices on and off the range.

“We teach our kids how to swim because we don’t want them to drown, so this is the same concept,” LeBlanc said.

According to the Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance -- a coalition of physicians, law enforcement and others -- there were 67 reported cases in the U.S. involving children who accidentally shot themselves or another child. And that’s just so far this year.

Back in April in California, two cousins were playing in a vehicle when they found a gun. One shot the other thinking it was unloaded.
Another case back in March happened when a 3-year-old picked up a gun in his home, shooting himself when it fired.

And our area has experienced heartbreak too. Back in November 2018, a juvenile accidentally died in a gun incident near Harrisburg.

RELATED: ELEMENTARY STUDENT DIES IN HARRISBURG

The first lesson in LeBlanc’s class is what to do if you see a firearm.

“Stop, don’t touch, run away, tell a grown up,” LeBlanc said. “We are not advocating to pick it up. Get out of the situation.”

The National Crime Prevention Council says 1.4 million homes have firearms stored in a way that makes them accessible to 2.6 million children, but even if you don’t have a firearm in your home, your child could come across one somewhere else.

“They could be at a friend’s house or somewhere where a gun is available and they may be unfamiliar,” said Jeff Blonde with the Eugene Police Department’s Crime Prevention Department.

Most of the cases seen on the Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance page involved the child being at home, but that isn’t always the case.

“In this climate, I think the opportunity for him to run into one has increased,” said Jennifer Grotte, a mother and participant of a Kids S.A.F.E. class.

The statistics were troubling enough to get the attention of Oregon lawmakers.

LeBlanc helped introduce Senate Bill 801, which would have authorized school districts and public charter schools to offer and annual 30-minute firearm safety and accident prevention class to first-grade students.

“It was all about education, safety; it was not about pushing guns on kids,” LeBlanc said. “It was about giving them the tools to be successful if they were ever in that position.”

The bill didn’t make it very far, but LeBlanc said he’s gearing up for the next legislative session.

Kurt Goldenstein, a high school teacher of more than 30 years, said he wouldn’t mind teaching his high school students about gun safety but was uncertain when it came to younger children.

“I don’t think people understand how much time and effort schools go through just to prepare for shooters so children can be aware of them, but if kids should know how to use a gun should fall back on parents, family, and fall back to hunter safety courses,” he said.

Through Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation, thousands of kids have now learned basic safety rules and gun safety, helping lower accidental deaths with firearms involving children.

To learn more about the nonprofit, click here.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 66333

Reported Deaths: 826
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah15240213
Washington903896
Marion8436130
Clackamas547276
Umatilla415648
Lane389037
Jackson343623
Malheur231839
Deschutes195514
Yamhill158216
Linn127518
Polk107615
Douglas82215
Jefferson77311
Benton7197
Union7172
Klamath6854
Morrow6257
Lincoln56513
Wasco47918
Josephine4434
Columbia4383
Coos3901
Hood River3661
Clatsop3350
Baker2593
Crook1986
Grant1231
Tillamook1120
Curry1052
Lake1010
Harney871
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1128219

Reported Deaths: 18753
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3706367446
San Bernardino851761129
Riverside815651413
San Diego72815968
Orange711161554
Kern38519445
Fresno36315471
Sacramento33421546
Santa Clara31103464
Alameda27622499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22482258
Stanislaus20658418
Tulare19818303
Ventura18105174
Imperial15257355
San Francisco14542158
Monterey13887114
San Mateo13334169
Sonoma11486155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10946133
Kings1011586
Solano936380
Marin7560128
Placer607167
Madera588580
San Luis Obispo566435
Yolo425775
Shasta410042
Santa Cruz389627
Butte371259
Napa277817
Sutter267713
El Dorado19304
San Benito174615
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama145723
Mendocino142422
Nevada10529
Lake83418
Glenn8326
Humboldt7849
Tuolumne7848
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo27916
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Modoc1140
Trinity1140
Mariposa1122
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Medford
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 44°
Brookings
Scattered Clouds
43° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 43°
Crater Lake
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 34°
Grants Pass
Broken Clouds
43° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 43°
Klamath Falls
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 34°
Rain & snow arrive this evening
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events