STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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
Updated: May 3, 2021 12:19 PM

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: 309841

Reported Deaths: 3569
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah50840642
Washington34683272
Marion32181388
Clackamas26315270
Lane23632246
Jackson20753255
Deschutes16401100
Umatilla12552125
Douglas10599185
Linn1030285
Josephine8536163
Yamhill737299
Klamath637891
Polk617770
Malheur475867
Benton454027
Coos406469
Columbia320237
Jefferson310446
Lincoln272829
Union266036
Wasco236739
Crook212137
Clatsop210225
Tillamook179623
Baker171920
Morrow166621
Curry166317
Hood River161635
Harney77115
Grant7538
Lake6608
Wallowa50111
Gilliam1364
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4636268

Reported Deaths: 67966
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144412725849
Riverside3575584802
San Diego3492274006
San Bernardino3468955501
Orange3135295354
Sacramento1498662070
Santa Clara1403871841
Fresno1356471889
Kern1343971515
Alameda1160681320
Ventura976231120
San Joaquin971621615
Contra Costa95595924
Stanislaus800341229
Tulare72812896
San Mateo52172607
San Francisco51808605
Monterey49445565
Solano44061312
Santa Barbara43065500
Sonoma39376376
Merced39279535
Placer36390364
Imperial34235755
Kings30038285
San Luis Obispo28273313
Madera21672258
Butte21205230
Shasta20647276
Santa Cruz20134211
Yolo19118239
Marin17080242
El Dorado15964127
Sutter13055153
Napa1224695
Yuba923461
Nevada845685
Humboldt826284
Tehama821184
San Benito708567
Mendocino681971
Lassen636827
Tuolumne612593
Lake601087
Amador489759
Glenn396430
Siskiyou388841
Calaveras339366
Del Norte334234
Colusa290718
Inyo166239
Mono14935
Plumas12336
Mariposa96712
Trinity71910
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1180
Alpine1000
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 78°
Brookings
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 82°
Crater Lake
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 78°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 78°
Klamath Falls
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 71°
Warmer tomorrow, smoke potentially returns on Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Monday, September 20th Afternoon Weather

Image

FLU VACCINE

Image

Monday, September 20 morning weather

Image

Sunday, September 19th Weather

Image

Tropical Storm Peter forms as the 16th Atlantic storm of 2021

Image

2021 Man Cave Makeover winner

Image

Sunday, September 19th Weather

Image

Oregon wraps up non-conference play with a steamrolling of Stony Brook

Image

Vidlak makes Beavers debut in Oregon State's 42-0 win

Image

Raiders struggle in road loss to College of Idaho, 29-3