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Governor joins call to encourage hunter education in Wyoming P.E. classes

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed Senate Joint Resolution 01 on Monday, March 23 which encourages hunter and firearm education to be facilitated in Wyoming schools.

The resolution came to the governor’s desk after it passed both chambers of the state legislature. 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 encouraged the inclusion of hunter and firearm education specifically at the high school level. The Senate adopted an amendment to the resolution so that it would push for such courses in all public schools.

“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 portrayals in entertainment, all of which could reduce the occurrence of severe incidents or mistakes involving a firearm,” the resolution states.

The resolution adds that firearm and hunter education areas 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.”