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NRA commentator defends giving guns to kids

NRA commentator defends his comments from earlier this week where he suggested mandatory gun training in schools.
Handguns on display during the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting on May 5, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Handguns on display during the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting on May 5, 2013 in Houston, Texas.

A commentator for the National Rifle Association defends a controversial video in which he said children should be required to learn how to handle guns. 

"Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills.  We would teach shooting and firearm competency,” argues NRA News commentator Bill Johnson.  “It wouldn’t matter if they didn’t want to learn.  We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade.”

Johnson later went on The Sportsman Channel's Cam & Company to defend his position on teaching children about firearms safety. 

"I think you need to teach your kids, whether or not you're a gun owner yourself, what they should do if they do find a gun," says Johnson. "And you know how that's so radical is beyond me to comprehend."

The video was released earlier this week to also push the idea of “gun-required zones” in the group’s latest attempt to convince the American public that guns are necessary in today’s society. 

“Gun policy driven by people's need for guns would seek to encourage people to keep and bear arms at all times. Maybe it would even reward those who do so,” says Johnson.  “What if instead of gun free-zones we had gun-required zones."

The NRA News website describes Johnson’s commentary as an examination of how “we tend to curb our right to bear arms in America rather than celebrate it.”  But the video seems to be part of the NRA’s ongoing effort to appeal to young people after research suggests that the younger generation tends to steer away from gun ownership.  If that trend continues, the gun industry may be in trouble when it comes to sales in upcoming years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are roughly 81,300 injuries and 31,672 deaths every year involving guns in the United States.