UTAH (ABC4) – A proposed bill would create a high school course in Utah to teach “the safe handling of firearms.”
House Bill 258, sponsored by Representative Rex Shipp (R-Cedar City), would create a pilot program to provide a firearm safety course in Utah’s public schools, if passed. It would be a three-year program for grades 9 through 12.
The bill’s text says it would require a local education agency to contract with a provider to supply materials and cirriculum for the pilot program or develope cirriculum for the pilot program. H.B. 258 would also require the State Board of Education to select local education agencies to participate in the pilot program, award grants to participating LEAs for cirriculum and supplies, and make rules, including rules establishing qualifications for instructors.
According to the bill, which is sponsored on the floor by Senator Jacob Anderegg (R-Salt Lake), the program would provide a one-semester, half credit physical education course in the safe handling of firearms.
Rules outline in H.B. 258 include teaching the state laws governing firearms, suicide prevention, and the basic operations of firearms. The course may include the use of a non-firing replica firearm and may not include the use of a firearm on or near school premises.
Further, students would not be able to discharge a firearm unless they are accompanied by a qualified instructor at a shooting range.
With approval from the Division of Wildlife Resources, the bill states a student could receive a certificate of completion for the hunter education course through this class.
Up to three local education agencies could be selected to participate in the pilot program.
H.B. 258 passed in the House by a 47-21-7 vote on Friday. As of Monday, it has been introduced in the Senate.