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House says teach Wyoming students video games, Hollywood, get guns wrong

Students walk along a trail behind the Casper Events Center during hunting field training at a Wyoming Outdoors Expo in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming House of Representatives passed Senate Joint Resolution 01 on third reading on Tuesday, March 10.

The resolution aims to encourage, though it would not require, firearm and hunter education as an elective physical education option in Wyoming. The House adopted an amendment to the version of the resolution passed by the Senate.

“Firearm and hunter education programs teach the state’s youth not only how to hunt but also how to use weapons responsibly and how to respect weapons and their capabilities while attempting to demonstrate that using a firearm is not akin to playing a video game, all of which could reduce the occurrence of severe incidents or mistakes involving a firearm,” the original resolution states.

The House amendment changes this section to state that “a firearm is not akin to depictions in entertainment.”

Since the House adopted an amendment, the resolution will return to the Senate for a concurrence vote. The Senate had passed the resolution on third reading on Feb. 27.

The resolution aims to “urge and request the game and fish commission to work with the state superintendent of public instruction and the state board of education to provide firearm and hunter education as a voluntary physical education elective in public schools.”

Under the initial proposal, the resolution would have called for the establishment of such P.E. courses specifically in high school. The Senate adopted an amendment to the resolution so that it would push for such courses in all public schools.

The resolution adds that firearm and hunter educations can include instruction in the following areas.

  • understanding responsibilities as a sportsperson
  • understanding hunting ethics
  • demonstrating the safe handling of firearms
  • understanding and identifying different types of firearms, ammunition and the correct use of both
  • practicing safe firearms cleaning and storage in the home
  • basic principles of wildlife management, conservation and preservation
  • understanding how hunters can be means for conservation in wildlife management

“Familiarity with these principles, equipment, and responsibilities can benefit our society overall and may reduce the number of gun-related accidents,” the resolution adds. “Several states including Kansas, Iowa and South Carolina have instituted programs whereby students in their middle and high schools may opt to meet their firearm and hunter education obligations through their physical education classes.”

“The game and fish department is currently statutorily tasked with overseeing the firearm and hunter education programs, and partnering with the department of education would allow delivery of training that is consistent with the mission of the game and fish department and would enable the game and fish department to reach out to the next generation of Wyoming sportspersons through programs coordinated throughout the state’s schools.”

The House’s third reading vote was unanimous with the exception of House District 21 Representative Evan Simpson who was excused while the vote was held.

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