U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Derek LeBlanc is the founder of the Kids S.A.F.E Foundation. The foundation concentrates on using education to prevent firearms accidents involving children. It introduces kids to firearms in a safe environment that demystifies guns and teaches safe firearms handling. The organization has taught over 20,000 kids about rules for safe firearms handling.
Aero Precision recently gave the Kids S.A.F.E Foundation $10,000 to help in their mission to prevent firearms accidents through the organization’s classes.
“We have worked with Derek LeBlanc and the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation for a few years now,” Aero Precision Marketing VP Brian Deal told AmmoLand. “We believe in the foundation’s mission of not just firearms safety, but firearms education. Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing unnecessary firearms accidents. We are proud to support the ongoing efforts of the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation and hope our donation helps to achieve their goals.”
I had a chance to speak with Derek LeBlanc about the mission of the Kids S.A.F.E Foundation and why he founded the organization.
John: What is the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation?
Derek: The Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Oregon. We teach Firearm safety and accident prevention to children and families. Since our founding in 2016, we have reached nearly 21,000 kids in 4 states and taught them lifesaving skills on what to do if they come across an unsecured firearm. ZERO firearm accidents are the only acceptable goal!!
John: Why did you start the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation?
Derek: In 2013, I was put in a scary situation, and a firearm was used to save my life. From that experience, I became an NRA Certified firearm instructor in 2014 and a gun rights advocate. In the beginning, I was working with parents who were new to firearms. It was their lack of experience that made me afraid for their kids.
One night the lightbulb went off, “I have to protect the kids!” I believe it was a higher power guiding me on my journey. I looked at programs. There was one by the NRA. I was from Eugene, OR, and I was concerned about how well received it would have been. So, I started to develop my own—about two years of development, trial, and error. We became a nonprofit in 2016. The reception from the public has been welcoming because of the way we present the message. It’s Apolitical, based solely on safety. In today’s climate, education is more important than ever.
John: Do you believe that there should be laws mandating that people lock up their guns?
Derek: Absolutely NOT!! There’s no data anywhere that would support this. We believe in individual liberty and personal responsibility. While we believe secure storage is a key component to education, we do NOT believe it is the government’s job to regulate our firearms inside of our own homes. We cannot legislate responsibility, but we can offer proven advice to parents and families.
I do believe that if you do have a firearm for self-defense in your home with young children, you do have a responsibility to secure it when you do not have control of it. Modern advances in technology give adults instant access to your defensive firearm. The 2A community has to do better, though. We have to evolve our thought process and see how our actions could be detrimental to our cause if one of our kids is hurt or killed with our firearms.
This will go a long way to safeguard our 2A rights for future generations. This will take away the other side’s ability to pass new legislation. The COVID and societal unrest have proven how damaging bad laws are to lawful gun owners. It’s this unrest that has given the 2A community and infusion of new gun owners. This is huge for us going forward. We have to capitalize, though, by educating them. This is what we do.
John: So, you believe in education over legislation?
Derek: I do believe in education, but I do believe in legislation. If written correctly, it could be a game-changer. So often, the 2A community is on the defensive when it comes to legislation. When we have someone who is an expert on their subject matter writes effective legislation, it creates an opportunity to actually move the needle forward in a positive way. This shifts the narrative and changes the conversation. When we can offer input on what laws potentially could look like, this a victory for lawful gun owners.
John: There was a state Senate Bill last year that would have authorized your program for all first graders in Oregon. What happened to that?
Derek: We had a good run. SB 801 ended up dying in committee. We learned a tremendous amount about what worked or didn’t work. We started a national dialogue, though, when it comes to the safety of our kids. It’s important to note that 37 anti-gun bills were going through the Oregon legislature in 2019, and there was mine. There were only two bills that got a public hearing, and one was ours. We had bipartisan support because of the way I worded the bill. It was strictly about safety.
John: What has been the industry response to your programs?
Derek: The support, for the most part, has been good; we have great partners and sponsors that believe in what we are doing. The only challenge we face is funding and for the industry seeing the value that we bring to the 2A community.
John: Part of your program is hands-on shooting with kids. What is their response to shooting?
Derek: We are fortunate enough to be able to offer live-fire training to children and families. There have been numerous times where a family that comes to us for training because they see the importance of it. Many have never owned a gun, but their kids enjoy the experience. They end up purchasing firearms so their kids can continue the education with us.
We are actually converting non-gun owners into gun owners because of how we deliver the information. We teach safety, discipline, and respect when it comes to firearms. These important safety disciplines reinforce the importance of what we are teaching.
John: Where are your classes taught?
Derek: Our classes are currently held at local Cabela’s locations or any place where there are power and a chance to teach kids. We do many different events in public. It’s all about getting out in the public and spreading our important message. We have taught in various local schools.
John: Any chance of expanding past Oregon?
Derek: We are currently in the final stages of our Instructor Development program. Once ready, we will be able to incorporate trained instructors from all over the country. We have a blueprint that will allow others to expand what we do into their local communities. The goal is to reach more kids and save lives.
John: How can people help your mission?
Derek: This is a great question. People can like and follow us all social media platforms under the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation. (FB, IG, Twitter, and TikTok.) They can also check our website https://kidssafefoundation.org. We are always looking for corporate sponsors. People can also donate through our website if they feel inclined and help us with our important journey to protect children. ZERO firearm accidents are the only acceptable goal!!™
Readings can go to https://kidssafefoundation.org for more information.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.