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Minutes for HB2460 - Committee on Federal and State Affairs

Short Title

Firearm safety education programs in public schools.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 6, 2018

Chairperson Barker opened the hearing on HB2460.  Jason Long, Revisor, provided an overview of the bill (Attachment 8).  Questions were asked by Representatives Smith, Clayton, and Lusk. 

Chairperson Barker left the room, and Vice-Chairperson Highland took over in his place.  Vice-Chairperson Highland recognized Representative John Whitmer as a proponent on HB2460 (Attachment 9).  He stated that he has talked to the State Board of Education about HB2460.  They are neutral on the bill in that they don't take a policy position, but they are very supportive and intend to encourage the schools that want to participate and will help in facilitating enrollment in the program. The Eddie Eagle program is a gun accident prevention program for students enrolled in grades nine through twelve and is based on the hunter education programs offered by the Kansas Department of Wildlife.  For students in upper grades, the Department of Wildlife offers the "Hunter Education In Our Schools" program, which is at no cost to the school.  Questions were asked by Chairperson Barker and Representatives Ruiz, Carpenter, and Highberger.

Chairperson Barker returned to the room.  He recognized Christopher Tymeson who testified on behalf of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism as a proponent on HB2460 (Attachment 10).  The Department would suggest an amendment to authorize hunter education in middle school as an alternative to the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe program.  Chairperson Barker stated that he participates in Hunter Safety classes in his county. 

Chairperson Barker recognized Travis Couture-Lovelady on behalf of the National Rifle Association as a proponent of HB2460 (Attachment 11).  The Eddie Eagle GunSafe program is a gun accident prevention program.  The program makes no value judgments about firearms, no firearms are ever used, and it covers an important topic that needs to be addressed with children.  A question was directed to Mr. Couture-Lovelady by Representative Rooker.  

Chairperson Barker recognized Jason Watkins as a proponent on behalf of the Kansas State Rifle Association (Attachment 12).  Questions were asked by Representatives Rooker and Whitmer.  

Chairperson Barker then recognized Rob Gilligan as an opponent to HB2460 on behalf of the Kansas Association of School Boards (Attachment 13).  Their opposition is that this bill requires the State Board of Education to develop a curriculum based solely on the Eddie Eagle and Hunters Safety Programs and if a local school board wants to offer such programs it must follow the state curriculum. That takes away each school district's right to choose their curriculum.  Their second objection is that the bill states that these programs are to be offered to all students.  It is unclear what is meant by that and whether that would mean it had to be taught every year from kindergarten on up.  In addition, if it's an elective course some students may not want to participate in it.  Questions were asked by Representatives Weber, Karleskint, Lusk, and Rooker.

Chairperson Barker asked if anyone else wanted to testify.  Seeing none, he closed the hearing on HB2460.

Chairperson Barker asked if there were any bill introductions.  There were none.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:55 a.m.