This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," April 18, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: A new law in Arizona adds gun safety and target shooting to the curriculum. The elective classes will count as credit towards a high school diploma.

Joining me now is the man behind the fist draft of the law, Alan Korwin, publisher of Bloomfield Press, and the author of "Gun Laws of America: Every Federal Gun Law on the Books."

Today's big question, Alan: Will teaching students about guns actually prevent gun violence?

ALAN KORWIN, AUTHOR, "GUN LAWS OF AMERICA": I would certainly like to think so. Education has to trump ignorance.

GIBSON: Well, I mean, obviously, the school thinks so. But why do they think so? I mean, is it the handling of the gun that makes kids less likely to use them, or is it some other stuff that's going on in their life?

KORWIN: Well, marksmanship is a time-honored tradition. It teaches concentration, responsibility. It's a very complex skill that needs to be learned and taught.

Right now, we know kids are getting almost no gun safety training at all. We know kids have accidents with guns. And there are 80 million gun owners in America. So, it just seems to make sense to provide education in that critical field. That's why I drafted that law.

GIBSON: You are kind of alone here, Alan. I mean, it's not as though the rest of the country subscribes to this notion. Why did Arizona sign on?

KORWIN: Well, I have introduced a lot of different laws. I call them sunshine gun laws that encourage good behavior, instead of just criminalizing the public, and high schools used to have marksmanship and rifle ranges in the basements. And they used to compete. You could get a varsity letter in shotgun. That went away and problems with children not knowing anything about guns increased.

You have adults who don't know anything about guns. This would help change that and move us more towards education and away from the ignorance that some of the gun haters and the anti-rights people would prefer.

GIBSON: Yes, but, Alan, if you take Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris at Columbine (search), was it ignorance about guns that led to their outbursts, that killing spree, or was it something else?

KORWIN: Well, I don't know that I'm qualified to talk about that. Violence has been a part of American culture and human nature since the beginning. You can look at a gun-free world, and you have Attila the Hun and Julius Caesar wiping out entire towns without guns.

So, why somebody goes crazy and harms people is a separate issue. They did that in a gun-free zone, where there was nobody there to protect themselves. I actually introduced a law called the Gun-Free Zone Liability Act, which would make a person liable if they made a gun-free zone and people were harmed in it. It's reckless and negligent to suggest that posting a sign and saying no guns allowed makes you safer in some sort of way.

GIBSON: Now, you mentioned that there was a time when students could get credits in class or get merit badges as scouts or something or be on kind of a marksmanship team. And I think we probably both remember the days when a kid would come to school with a gun to be on that team and nobody paid a whole lot of attention.

KORWIN: That's right.

GIBSON: Now, I used to...


KORWIN: I'm sorry.

GIBSON: Well, I was just going to say, times have changed. Show up with a gun now, and you are surrounded by police cars and there's helicopters overhead. Right?

KORWIN: So, is that better? Were we better when you had rifle ranges in the basements, kids brought their guns to school and left them in the closet, went out hunting afterwards or used them for competition, knew how to handle them safely and use them in a mature, American sort of way? Or where guns are now hidden and the presence of a gun brings in a SWAT team?

I mean, there's a cultural problem there. But certainly educating kids on gun safety seems to me to be a good idea. And the anti-rights people who say we should keep the kids ignorant, not let them know what is going on, and not teach them the constitutional roots of this right to keep and bear arms, is a bad idea.

GIBSON: Yes, but, Alan, just to be argumentative with you for the drill, if you don't mind, I mean, we have got kids who are who are playing "Grand Theft Auto" on their games, who are desensitized to killing people, who think nothing of blasting dozens, if not thousands, of people on their GameBoys constantly.

And, in that environment, are you really so comfortable putting a real gun in the hands of these kids?

KORWIN: Well, you are not just putting a gun in the hands of a kid. You have a full semester of training, learning, finding out what this is all about, seeing how firearms help preserve peace and freedom.

And then kids are going to get very serious instruction, carefully controlled by people who know what they're doing. And instead of thinking guns are some video game that has no repercussion, they'll really know what they are like. And they'll carefully discharge a firearm at a target safely to get the credit in the class, and I think that would be a step in the right direction. Just putting guns in kids' hands is a bad idea.

GIBSON: All right. Now, Alan, you got an idea. They're going to give it a shot in Arizona, so to speak.


Any evidence it does what you say and that it will work out, as you are telling us it will?

KORWIN: Is there any evidence now? Well, it's a new program. As far as I know, it hasn't been done. But I have had calls from people all over the country who are excited about it. They're glad to see it passed here unanimously through the Senate and veto-proof in the House. The governor signed it. They want laws like this in their states, so that their kids can learn about this, get this sort of training, have gun safety as a part of the school curriculum, instead of ignorance.

And there's one other angle there. You can't teach history properly if mentioning guns or dealing with guns is so forbidden, as it is now. You can't talk about how our peace and freedom are tied to our ability to exercise force. And that's done with guns, and the class will bring all that to light.

GIBSON: Alan Korwin, publisher of Bloomfield Press, author of "Gun Laws of America: Every Federal Gun Law on the Books."

Alan, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

KORWIN: Thank you, John.

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