Russell students learn gun safety from expert



FLATWOODS A firearms expert and former Ashland police officer brought his more than two decades of expertise to eighthgraders at Russell Middle School on Friday in a presentation on gun safety.

An understanding of firearms safety is important for all young people, whether they use guns or not, because they may encounter guns outside their own homes, said Mike Crawford, general manager of Bare Arms Indoor Range in Ashland.


 Mike Crawford discusses gun safety with RMS students on Friday.

Mike Crawford, general manager of Bare Arms Indoor Range in Ashland, discusses gun safety with Russell Middle School students on Friday.



“In the world we live in, we have guns all around us, especially in the U.S.,” said Crawford, who was an Ashland police officer for 21 years before retiring and taking his current job.

Students may encounter guns while visiting friends or relatives and should know what to do when that happens, he said.

The chief rule in such a situation is not to handle the weapon and to discourage companions from doing so, he said.

Even those who are knowledgeable about guns should not handle an unfamiliar weapon, according to Crawford, who said he follows that rule at the range.

He urged the students to resist peer pressure to handle guns and if appropriate to talk to their parents about securing their guns.

Key gun safety rules include:

  • Always treat a gun as if it were loaded. Crawford brought several guns to the class. None were loaded and he didn’t bring ammunition. Also, each firearm was zip-tied to make it incapable of firing. But Crawford did not point the guns at the class, and when he placed them on the desk it was with the muzzles pointed toward the wall.
  • Never place a finger on the trigger until ready to discharge the weapon. Trained shooters hold their trigger finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
  • Be aware of what is beyond the target. Doing so ensures bullets will not end up hitting people or property.

He also encouraged the students to use adequate hearing and eye protection.

Crawford made his presentation to students in Chris Holbrook’s social studies class at the request of student teacher Ryan Biederman, who said it tied in with class discussion of the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment.

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