South Carolina lawmaker wants mandatory NRA gun classes in schools

Reuters/Brian Blanco
Students in South Carolina could soon be studying material endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), if a state lawmaker can successfully push his proposal into law.

Under a measure filed by South Carolina State Rep. Alan Clemmons (R), the state curriculum would require students to take a three-week class focused on the US Constitution – with a special focus on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

During the class, high school students would learn about gun rights, gun safety, and – if a companion bill also passes into law – potentially attend shooting ranges. There is already a petition to fight the proposal.

At the end of December, Clemmons filed the Second Amendment Education Bill, which would designate December 15 as Second Amendment Awareness Day and require elementary, middle, and high schools to enter a poster or essay contest and study a curriculum supported with material from the NRA. The lawmaker wants more emphasis placed on the Second Amendment and to focus on guns in order to “demystify” them.

"The discussion should be a scholarly discussion about the history of the second amendment, why was it important to our fathers, why was it so important that it was included in the bill of rights, and how the second amendment folds into modern society," Clemmons told CarolinaLive.

The poster and essay contest would feature the theme “The Right To Bear Arms: One American Right Protecting All Others.” The entries would be judged by the South Carolina Legislative Sportsman's Caucus, and the winners would be recognized and honored by the South Carolina Legislature.

Clemmons hopes for an early hearing before the House Education Committee this year.

The proposed date for Second Amendment Awareness Day, December 15, falls just one day after the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, during which gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adult staff members, injured two staff, and killed his mother at home prior to the shooting. It is the deadliest mass shooting ever to take place at a US school.

Clemmons said he filed the bill in response to Zero Tolerance rules at schools across the state that prevent students from bringing guns on campus, which he thinks have turned into an anti-Second Amendment policies.

"That policy in my mind is subjecting the rising generation to the mindset of the instrument, the firearm, is evil regardless of the hand that the firearm is in," Clemmons explained to CarolinaLive.

Another bill, filed by State Senator Lee Bright, would take children out of the classroom and to the gun range for a semester-long course on firearm safety. It would include target practice, gun rights, and gun history. The course would be an elective.

A petition is being circulated by opponents looking to prevent the bill from passing, arguing that the entire Bill of Rights and US Constitution should be taught – and that the curriculum should be developed by educators.