Montana – -(AmmoLand.com)- Dear MSSA Friends,
Montana Shooting Sports Association needs your active help. We need to crank up delivery of MSSA’s Be Safe, gun safety program for kids, to the children of Montana.
We have a very functional Be Safe program working in the schools in the Missoula area. We need to clone this effort statewide, with your help in your local area. Here’s how it works in Missoula:
A local entity, the Western Montana Fish and Game Association (WMFGA – owns and operates the Deer Creek Shooting Center) appropriates money each year to pay someone with Montana teaching credentials to get into classrooms of first through third grades and present the Be Safe message to kids. This person is paid a flat rate per classroom to approach school administration, to schedule presentations with regular classroom teachers, and to deliver the Be Safe presentation.
Be Safe is approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) and the Montana Legislature (documentation provided). Be Safe is *highly* acclaimed by school teachers in whose classrooms it has been delivered. On an after-presentation critique form, we ask teachers to rate the value of Be Safe to their students on a scale of 1-10. With hundreds of such evaluation forms in hand, the running average answer for this question is 9.9!
The Be Safe brochure may be printed or copied locally. The material will only cost about 10 or 12 cents per child. It involves a story the presenter reads to kids about how one typical Montana family addresses gun safety and security in the home. After reading the story to kids, the presenter hands out copies and asks the kids to have a parent read it to them and siblings one more time before bed that evening. This reinforces the message for the kid, exposes siblings to the message, and offers parents a standard for firearm safety that parents may apply in their home. The Be Safe message is carefully crafted to be suitable for Montana’s gun culture and for kids in the grades 1-3 age range.
Since the inception of the Be Safe program about 20 years ago, MSSA has printed and distributed about 200,000 copies of the Be Safe brochure. There’s no way to know how many children’s lives MSSA has saved, but surely it is some. We want to do more, much more.
MSSA needs you to do two things to help ramp up this statewide effort:
- 1. Get your local gun club(s) to approve spending money to support Be Safe locally. How much money is needed will depend on the size of your community. FYI, the WMFGA in Missoula appropriates $3,500 per year for this effort and pays the teacher $35/classroom to deliver the program. The teacher is paid upon invoice for the number of classrooms she has covered.
- 2. Help find a suitable person in your community to deliver the program. MSSA really wants someone associated with Montana’s gun culture to do this job, and not just some random person. We don’t want the Be Safe message to be misapplied by any anti-gun person. The right person should also have Montana teaching credentials, to make it easier to get permission from schools to deliver Be Safe in classrooms. In Missoula, we located the right person (she is also a competitive shooter) on the local list of substitute teachers – teachers wanting part-time work or waiting for a full-time position. Such a person exists in your community. Find that person to connect them with the local gun club that will be paying for the Be Safe program locally.
MSSA can help. We have designed the Be Safe program message and material, and have gotten the approvals for Be Safe from the SPI and Legislature that will help get permission for delivery in local school classrooms. The person who has been delivering Be Safe in Missoula for years is willing and able to travel to your community to train your selected teacher about how to get into the schools and how to deliver the Be Safe message. It would be great if your local group could cover her travel and lodging expenses.
Everything you need to know about Be Safe is posted Online at: www.mtssa.org/?page_id=63
We want to get this Be Safe effort spooled up and ready to deliver in your community by this coming fall, when kids come back to school. Of course, it can also be delivered to church groups, cub scouts, 4-H, community safety fairs, and others over the summer.
So, please, help MSSA with the two goals above. Also, let me know what you have done and what progress you are making in your community. Feel free to forward this article to others, including officials of your local gun club(s) or range(s).
Thanks loads for your help.
Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
About Montana Shooting Sports Association:MSSA is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit: www.mtssa.org