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Horses and Cows Breathing Easier After College Cancels Firearm Safety Classes

Friday, September 6, 2013

As the saying goes, there must be something in the water.

A popular firearm safety class taught by NRA Certified Firearm Instructors at Pierce College, part of the Los Angeles Community College District, has been nixed for purely ideological reasons, and because--well, you will just have to see for yourself.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the cancellation of an NRA Basic Pistol Course was achieved by the district's hasty adoption of a "Rule 2420," introduced by board of trustees member Scott Svonkin. The rule prohibits all firearms on campus, other than those carried by law enforcement personnel and those used for "theatrical performances."

We'll let Svonkin explain it for himself. "The one thing we wanted to prevent was Pierce College being the Wild Wild West. . . . By preventing guns on campus, I wanted to prevent people who took the class from shooting a horse or cow on campus."

Attorney C.D. Michel has filed suit on behalf of the safety class' instructor. As Michel details on his website, Svonkin freely admitted that his rule was targeted at the NRA. "Recently the Board of Trustees found out that on two of our campuses we had classes about guns being taught for the community with the support of the NRA," Svonkin said during a radio interview. "We did not want community members coming on campus to an NRA-supported class, if they were going to bring guns to demonstrate for these people from the community on how to use guns." 

In a separate interview, Svonkin added, "I believe that the NRA's goal is to promote gun ownership, and that guns lead to death. So, not having the NRA teach classes, not having the NRA classes on our campuses, is a good thing . . . . I'm much happier with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department protecting our students and our staff and our faculty than having some random person who took a three-hour class and thinks that they're Dirty Harry."

Michel notes that the background section of Svonkin's rule attempts to justify the ban on the grounds that "[t]he presence of firearms, even when nonoperational and in the instructional setting, lends itself to the potential for panic and fear." But, as Michel further notes, since 2008, the NRA course has instructed over 660 students, mostly female without injury or incident or anyone erupting into "panic or fear." Also, while we enjoy the arts as much at the next person, we still don't understand why having actors potentially pointing firearms at each other during theatrical performances is okay in an academic setting, while having instructors detail their safe handling and use is not.

Like we said, there must be something in the water.

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