STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE) – Kids in Sterlington a lesson on gun safety at Gateway Assembly Church on Sunday.
This comes after the shooting death of 17-year-old Alyssa Neitz, which sparked a conversation on gun safety.
Now, her family is pushing for better gun education.
“I do want justice done but more importantly I don’t want this to ever happen again. This could have been prevented,” Her mother Jennifer Neitz told us just days after her daughter’s death.
She said she wanted to see more gun safety education courses. “Why did it take my daughter’s life to open everybody’s eyes?” she asked.
One week later, she’s practicing what she preached, sharing her daughter’s story with dozens of children.
But Jennifer wasn’t alone. She had some help from Sterlington Police.
“This is one of those things that happened that made us realize that we have to tell our youth again and again and again,” Chief Barry Bonner says.
They say the best way to learn is go back to the basics.
“It’s really important for them to understand that these are not toys,” Officer Jeremy Streeter says. “These are instruments created and intended to kill.”
Hannah Nason agrees. She was friends with Alyssa, and says her death could’ve been avoided.
“Whether it’s pointed at a person or not or if it’s not loaded you treat it like it’s loaded,” she says. “You point it at the ground or at the sky you don’t point it at someone else.”
But it’s more than a one-day conversation. Jenifer says she’s pushing for legislation for a statewide gun education course in schools.
“The D.A.R.E. Program is great. It’s drug awareness, but why aren’t we teaching kids about the problems they see today which is firearm safety?” she asks.
She says she’s already making progress. “I’ve contacted people in Baton Rouge already and I would like for it to be called the Alyssa Program – ‘Assuring Louisiana’s Youth Security Safety and Awareness,” she explains.
Jennifer says her first goal is for the Alyssa Program to become a Louisiana state law.
Chief Bonner says he would gladly go into classrooms to teach the gun education course.