UAB creating program to teach children about guns

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Updated: Oct. 1, 2020 at 6:07 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Researchers in the University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Sciences are creating a gun training program for children.

“I think we can make a difference. Children are dying from guns,” Director of the UAB Youth Safety Lab, David Schwebel, Ph.D., said.

The lab was awarded $1.95 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and evaluate the online program. The program is called Shootsafe.

“One goal of Shootsafe is to teach basic rules, how to use firearms safely. We also want to teach the behavioral pieces of it. We need to teach them to think about the consequences if they make a mistake with a deadly weapon,” Schwebel said.

Every year, more than 800 children under the age of 15 dies from guns and over a thousand are left disabled, according to the CDC.

Schwebel said the program will target 10 to 12 year olds who use guns recreationally, but he said the program will help any child whose parents want them to learn gun safety.

ShootSafe extends existing programs to achieve three primary educational goals:

  • Teach children the knowledge and skills they need to hunt, shoot and use firearms safely;
  • Help children learn and hone the critical cognitive skills of impulse control and hypothetical thinking needed to use firearms safely; and
  • Alter children’s perceptions about their own vulnerability and susceptibility to firearms-related injuries, the severity of those injuries, and their perceived norms about peer behavior surrounding firearms use.

Before the program is fully launched, they plan to study local participants to see if it’s effective. If all is well UAB plans to release the program worldwide.

Read more about Shootsafe by clicking here.

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