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Press Release

Students Learn About Gun Safety

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Louisiana

OPELOUSAS, La. –The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Baton Rouge Constable’s Office, and the Opelousas Police Department recently sponsored gun safety demonstrations at six St. Landry Parish elementary schools where students learned about the serious dangers of firearms.

The Louisiana Law Enforcement Gun Safety Program was held at Northeast Elementary, Park Vista Elementary, Grolee Elementary, J.S. Clark Leadership Academy, Southwest Elementary and South Street Elementary schools in Opelousas from March 10th to April 1st.  The programs featured gun safety demonstrations by Baton Rouge Constables John Lawton and Brian Firmin, and Opelousas Police Chief Perry Gallow who spoke to the children about the dangers of juvenile gun use.  U.S. Attorney Finley, along with members of her staff, Assistant U.S. Attorney Myers Namie, Law Enforcement Community Coordinator Mike Campbell, Contract Legal Technical Writer Henri LeJeune and Intelligence Specialist Aaron Broussard attended the events at different times and spoke to the children about the importance of taking the program seriously and the role of the U.S. Attorney’s office in prosecuting gun crimes.   

The program not only brought students face-to-face with the dangers of firearms, but it also tested their knowledge of gun safety.  The instructor showed the students various handguns and asked them if the weapons were real or fake.  The students in many cases were unable to distinguish between real or fake guns because a number of them look, feel and weigh the same as real guns.  At the end of the program, students watched as a .357 magnum fired a bullet into a watermelon inside of a protective enclosure. Students were instructed that weapons have to be handled safely, and that they should always let adults know if they can access guns.

“Safety of children in the Western District of Louisiana is of the utmost concern for this office,” Finley said. “Firearms are one of the leading causes of death of elementary school age children in this state. The Gun Safety Program helps educate students on how to react when finding a gun. This program can save a life.  I want to thank the Baton Rouge Constables Office and the Opelousas Police Department for their commitment to the children of our community and their willingness to host these events.”

“I’m very grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Baton Rouge Constables Office for helping to make this program possible,” Gallow said. “The partnership provides valuable information to children regarding guns and gun safety. The best information as well as the correct information saves lives, and that is our goal.”

Finley also said she hopes to have a Gun Safety Training Program for the Western District of Louisiana in the near future. The program would include trained instructors and a ballistics trailer to house the gun and watermelon used during the presentation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Baton Rouge Constable’s Office, and the Opelousas Police Department sponsored the event.  For more information about the program, contact U.S. Attorney’s Office Law Enforcement Coordinator Mike Campbell at 318-676-3600.

Updated January 26, 2015