Parenthood is a challenging job. There’s a never-ending list of things you want to share with and teach your children. Sometimes those things are normal, sensible, everyday topics like, “Eat your vegetables” and “Don’t touch the stove” and “Put down that smartphone before it rots your brain.”
Then there are the times you instruct them in ways you never even imagined, such as, “Get the Legos out of the refrigerator” and “We don’t put spaghetti in our toes” and “Stop using the dog as a tissue.”
Of course, if you are a parent who owns firearms, shoots firearms and/or just cares about the overall safety of your kids, you will also tackle the important topic of firearms. Whether or not guns are in the home is irrelevant. You don’t want your children to learn about guns from movies, friends, school or politicians! My husband and I have spent a lot of time working with our three kids. And, thankfully, there are a lot of really helpful programs and organizations that offer classes, training ideas and even products to assist parents and teachers with this all-important safety training.
One of those groups that is making an impact is Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation. I recently spoke with president Derek LeBlanc about the amazing work they are doing to help parents and kids.
What Are the Reasons Why You Got Involved With Firearms, Safety and Training?
“I had a scary situation happen to me in 2013 when I confronted a guy who was breaking into my vehicle. I was unarmed at the time and fought with him on the ground for around 10 minutes until my girlfriend at the time came out with a shotgun to save me. She never fired a shot. Afterward, I became an instructor and a gun-rights advocate.
“As an instructor, I was working with parents [who] were new to firearms, but they realized the importance of protection for their families. I had a thought one night about how I could prevent children from [being exposed to a potential firearms accident] inside of the home. I started looking at available programs. There was only one available at the time. So I set out to design my own.
“Here we are, five years later … and we have educated nearly 17,000 kids in four states on what to do if they ever encounter an unsecured firearm.”
As You Know, Many People Think the Best Way to Keep Kids Safe From Guns Is to Not Have Any Guns Around. How Do You Respond to That?
“I would say this: We teach our kids how to swim because we don’t want them to drown. This is the same concept behind our program — SAFETY for every kid, not just the kids with firearms in their homes. We must empower our youth through proper education to make good, safe decisions if they are ever put in an unsafe position.
“You might be responsible with your firearms, but we don’t know about other parents. Kids can come in contact with a firearm in the most unusual places, so this lifesaving education is critical.
“We have been in cities and states where there are high rates of regulations and restrictions but no access to education. When we cannot talk about firearms and safety or we treat [firearms] as a taboo … that’s when kids are really vulnerable.
“We have a duty to protect our children by saying, ‘No more!’ to failed policies that put our kids at risk. We have the solutions; we just need an opportunity to speak.”
How/When Did Kids S.A.F.E. Come To Be?
“I started my journey to get to where I am today in 2014. The Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation has been a nonprofit for almost four years now.”
What Specific Classes/Training Do You Offer?
“We offer a Kids Firearm Education class, which is designed to be taught in public schools. (Last year I did write a Senate Bill that would have authorized our program to be taught in all public schools.) Then there is a Kids Firearm Safety 1 class. In this class, there are real firearms and we demo different action types. We answer questions and give the families information and try to dispel any rumors. We cover Nerf and Airsoft safety along with video games. There’s an anti-bullying component to our program as well. Lastly, there is a Kids Firearm Safety 2 class, which is a follow-up to the first class. This class is a live-fire class where we reinforce the safety principles that we learned in the first class and we get to shoot rimfire. It’s a lot of fun!”
How Are Kids S.A.F.E. Programs or Messages Different/Unique?
“What makes us unique is how our message is all-inclusive and designed for every kid. At the moment, we are working on translating our curriculum into Spanish, Russian and Chinese. These are parts of our society where the kids are very vulnerable because there is no education for them. We also cover video games/video game violence and also have an anti-bullying component to our program. We also offer live-fire training as well to reinforce the very important safety principles that we cover in our Kids Firearm Safety 1 class.”
What Are Your Goals for 2020 … And Beyond?
“Our goal is to go national with help from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, plus the help of other organizations. Together, we can do a lot of good and save lives from day one. ZERO firearms accidents is the only acceptable goal!”
How Can Others Help You and Your Organization?
“Folks can get involved or donate on our website KidsSAFEFoundation.org. They can also like, comment or share our social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Interaction is the fuel that spreads our important message!”
About Beth Alcazar
Author of Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals, associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine and creator of the Pacifiers & Peacemakers column, Beth Alcazar has enjoyed nearly two decades of teaching and working in the firearms industry. She holds degrees in language arts, education and communication management and uses her experience and enthusiasm to share safe and responsible firearms ownership and usage with others. Beth is certified through the NRA as a Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for multiple disciplines. She is also a Certified Instructor through SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute, DRAW School, TWAW and I.C.E. Training and is a USCCA Certified Instructor and Senior Training Counselor.
We’ve changed our commenting platform to help protect your private information and make sign-in and commenting easier! Our new commenting platform is also our USCCA Online Community platform and allows you to use your USCCA login information for all of the USCCA website.
You do not need a USCCA Membership to comment on the blog posts or in the Online Community. If you’re not a member, sign up for a free USCCA account.