By Ellen Sturm Niz
April 27, 2015
nra video

Earlier this month, the National Rifle Association (NRA) released a new Eddie Eagle video to teach kids gun safety. Not familiar with Eddie Eagle? Neither was I, though apparently he has been around since 1988 when the NRA launched the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program to educate children. In this new video, Eddie's look is "modernized" and he has some new friends, the Wing Team, a cliche-riddled multicultural group of youngsters who are having fun playing egg-shaped basketball—until they discover a backpack under a park bench with a lone gun inside. Um, what kind of park are these kids playing in?!

The first birds—er, kids—who find the gun don't know what to do, but when Eddie sees it he runs over and teaches them the rules in the form of a catchy song his dad taught him: "STOP! Don't touch. Run away. Tell a grown-up." Maya then remembers she learned that song at school—fat lot of good it did her, though, because she forgot. They then do tell the adults with them at the park, and Eddie's dad invites them all over to his house later for a full gun safety lesson—and pizza!

Officer Wingman comes to talk to the kids and teach them what to do, even doufus Gary who has to be scolded that real guns are not the same as the ones in the video games he loves to play. Fiona admits her mom taught her to never touch a gun, but she forgot that when she saw the gun in the park. (Someone might want to take these kids for a head CT because they are awfully forgetful.) But Fiona will remember next time! They are all so sure they will remember what to do, despite evidence to the contrary.

While I appreciate the NRA trying to keep kids safe from guns, this video is a little painful. The over-the-top attempts to include Spanish phrases and be "hip" is cringe-inducing. It also seems to try to make light of the fact that kids don't actually follow gun safety rules even when they know them. And towards the end when Officer Wingman goes over the likely places where you might find a gun, the image of a mom pulling one out of her purse is a laughably heavy-handed NRA message in support of everyone being able to carry a weapon at all times.

Yes, it is possible that kids will encounter a gun and need to know what to do. It's as likely as them needing to have Smokey the Bear tell them "Only you can prevent wildfires" and Woodsy Owl remind them to "Give a hoot, don't pollute." So I suppose having Eddie Eagle and the Wing Team try to teach them the rules is better than nothing. On the other hand, it probably would be more effective to actually limit gun ownership and carrying permits so there would be far, far less chance of kids encountering a gun at all. Instead, the NRA wants to increase these things, which will actually, and sadly, only make Eddie Eagle's advice more likely to be needed and heeded.

Ellen Sturm Niz is a New York City-based editor and writer who just doesn't understand why any mom needs a gun in her purse. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.