Minnesota bill would add firearm safety, hunting to physical education classes

A new bill proposed in Minnesota's Senate would allow schools to add firearms safety, hunting, trap shooting, archery and fishing to physical education classes.

Minnesota Sen. Justin Eichorn (R) introduced the bill to encourage students to spend more time outdoors, KARE 11 reported Wednesday.

"We're trying to help get our Minnesota kids away from the TV and get them out in the woods and on the water again to get them hooked on the outdoors and hooked on fishing," Eichorn said during a Senate Education Committee hearing.

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"We want to start bending that curve to get children to care about the outdoors and the history of and heritage of hunting and fishing in Minnesota,” he added.

The bill would allocate more than $1 million through the 2020-2013 two-year budget cycle, the outlet reported.

It would initially establish a pilot program at six schools in partnership with the state’s Department of Natural Resources, which would provide the curriculum and resources.

Eichorn’s legislation would also allow Minnesota’s indigenous population access grants to the programs at local tribal schools.

Kevin Murphy, a sixth-grade teacher, told the committee that his small rural school district already provides similar classes.

"That is huge in local culture, the firearms safety part of it, the hunting aspect of it, the outdoor education is all very, very important as a cultural element," Murphy said, according to KARE 11.

The committee on Wednesday voted to possible include the measure in the omnibus education bill finalized later in the legislative session.