ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Accidents involving guns are the third leading cause of death in young children, according to the United States Attorney's Office. Law enforcement officers report, often times it is because the weapons get into the wrong hands.
The U.S. Attorney's Office has partnered with local law enforcement agencies to promote gun safety at schools in an effort to prevent these tragedies.
Baton Rouge Police Constable Captain John Lawton delivered a startling statistic to students at the Dutchtown Primary School.
"Last year sixteen people in your age group died in gun accidents," Lawton said.
Captain Lawton next used a show and tell method to quiz the students on common myths, that firearms can be determined by weight, color, and size.
One small gun is so small it could easily be mistaken for a cigarette lighter. A lot of students thought it was.
"I got a lot of the guesses wrong. I couldn't tell if they were fake or real," Peyton Carpenter said.
Lawton told the students, in the end that does not matter.
"Even if you can't tell whether these are real guns or not, no one can tell if they're loaded," Lawton said.
Once they have grasped the concept, Capt. Lawton took the kids outside to drive the point home. His target is a ripe watermelon.
"Once that bullet hits it, the damage is permanent. It can't be fixed," Lawton told the students.
"I didn't expect it to be so fast and loud and explode that big. It scared me," Carpenter said.
The image of the shattered watermelon no doubt helped the message stick.
"Once you pull the trigger you can't take it back," Harrison Verdigets said.
Capt. Lawton called it a lesson well learned.
The gun safety seminar will be taught at Ascension Parish Schools through the end of the school year.