Hawaii – -(AmmoLand.com)- Hawaii has a very special culture that is different than their continental brethren in the rest of the United States.
Through the years, different views on firearms and firearm safety have proliferated. Regardless of political leanings or agreement with legislative pushes, one thing that is universal when it comes to firearms is the importance of keeping our children safe and educated on the subject. This is why the leadership from Hawaii Rifle Association with the Hawaii Youth Livestock Association has teamed up with the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation.
Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation
The Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation is a firearm safety organization based out of Oregon that aims to educate children on not only what to do if they encounter a firearm, but also on how they function. The idea is that by educating our children we can stop tragic firearm accidents from occurring. Kids S.A.F.E. has a very simple philosophy, “ZERO firearm accidents are the only acceptable goal!” The program is apolitical and accepts all walks of life to participate. From their webpage:
Since 2015 the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation has been a leader in the state of Oregon and the nation in regards to children’s firearm safety. We have reached 21,000 kids in Oregon, Washington, Northern California, and Arizona. We have taught them life-saving skills on what to do if they ever encounter a firearm…We teach our kids to swim because we don’t want them to drown. We use this similar approach when it comes to firearm safety. Our firearm safety program is for all kids, not just the kids with firearms in their homes. Children can come in contact almost anywhere, their education is vital. ZERO firearm accidents are the only acceptable goal!!™
The statistic that is posted on their page is that firearm accidents are the third leading cause of death for children in the state of Oregon. Derek LeBlanc, the founder of Kids S.A.F.E. has a common-sense approach that needs to continue to be replicated. LeBlanc talks about how teaching children how to swim to keep them from drowning is important, but not everyone teaches children about firearms. The forerunner class they offer, the Kids Firearm Safety Education focuses on removing the mystery, or “novelty”, of firearms and educating children what they are not supposed to do should they come across a firearm.
LeBlanc is now taking his program across the Pacific to aid Hawaiian residents in being able to spread the important message of youth firearm safety. After meeting with Hawaii Rifle Association board member Christy Kajiwara Gusman at the 2019 Gun Rights Policy Conference, they agreed that Kids S.A.F.E. would be something they wanted to integrate on the islands. From a press release:
The Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation is pleased to announce that they are headed to Oahu and the island of Maui to teach their Kids Firearm Safety 1 and 2 Classes. This is a great opportunity to reach the children of Hawaii and show different organizations that education is a viable option for the safety of their children. The Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation is an apolitical organization dedicated to empowering children to make good, safe decisions if they ever come across an unsecured firearm.
LeBlanc is heading to the Aloha State on the 20th of July, 2021. For the proceeding four days, the plan is to teach one to two classes a day, with one day having three scheduled. I had a chance to chat with Christy Kajiwara Gusman, the Maui Board Member of the Hawaii Rifle Association, and leader of the Hawaii Youth Livestock Association. Gusman spoke to me about the agricultural communities in Hawaii and about increasing access to activities such as animal husbandry and farming for children that are not exposed to these things where they live. The Hawaii Youth Livestock Association incorporated a BB gun marksmanship program as well as a youth hunting program. To her, teaming up with Kids S.A.F.E. was a no-brainer to educate their membership on the proper handling of firearms. She emphasized that education is key to keeping everyone safe. Gusman had this to say about the two groups coming together:
It’s our goal to provide safety through education not legislation, protect our constitutional rights, and allow our community to protect themselves. We hold onto traditional hunting practices, which has allowed many families to feed themselves and remain sustainable throughout this recent pandemic. We have a big hunting community here in Maui.
The work that LeBlanc is doing with Kids S.A.F.E. is very important. It’s exciting to see the organization continue to grow and expand. As time goes on, we can only hope that the program will gain more momentum and be able to bring much-needed youth firearm safety training to communities all throughout the country. Groups like the Hawaii Youth Livestock Association that bring exposure to agriculture and husbandry to the next generation need to be supported and cultivated. This new partnership sounds like it’s going to be very successful and I wish them all the best luck.
Visit the Kids SAFE Foundation Hawaii social media page for event information, signing up for a class, and more at: Kids SAFE Foundation Hawaii | Facebook
The Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization, based in Oregon. Their mission is to educate children and families of the potential hazards of an unsecured firearm. For more information about the programs and organization you can visit them online at: kidssafefoundation.org
John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use and NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii .