'42 percent of the kids who come to our class do not have any firearms in their home'
EUGENE, Ore. - If you had asked Warren Mayer several years back if he could imagine his daughter Kylie shooting a gun, the answer might have been no.
"We really didn't have a whole big liking for them," he said.
But about two years ago, Mayer said his family saw a class taught by Derek Leblanc that caught their interest.
"We saw the class he was offering, and it was just a safety class, there was no shooting involved," Mayer said. "We decided our daughter at some point in her life may have a need to know how to handle it safely if she ever comes across a firearm."
Leblanc is the president and chief instructor of Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation.
He started the foundation four years ago and turned it into a non-profit two years ago.
Leblanc said this is not about politics.
It's about safety.
And his target audience includes everyone.
"42 percent of the kids who come to our class do not have any firearms in their home," Leblac said. "So, what is really important, is the parents that come, they realize that just because they don't have guns and they don't have experience with the guns doesn't mean they can't be exposed somewhere else."
The foundation trains kids for scenarios where they could come across a gun when a parent or other supervision is not around, like at someone's house - or even at the park.
The lesson comes with four simple rules: Stop. Don't Touch. Run Away. Tell a Grownup.
Students also learn how to safely use a gun, which includes always treating the weapon as though the gun is loaded.
It's a lesson that stays with Leblanc: a kid close to his program was accidentally shot and killed a year ago.
"So that's what we're trying to do and prevent is these senseless tragedies," he said.
The kind of senseless tragedy Mayer aims to keep his daughter from ever facing.
"I don't really know how to phrase it; it's just a relief, more than anything, to know that I have somebody that can do it herself and be around and be safe," he said, "but also to show other people how to do that."