• July 23, 2014

Scouts emphasize safety in wake of tragedy

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Posted: Friday, July 4, 2014 4:30 am

A Scout found dead from a gunshot wound to the head at a Boy Scout camp in San Diego on Monday has local Scout leaders stressing the importance of safety and emphasizing Scout camp regulations within the organization.

George Covert of Copperas Cove directed the regional Cub Scout day camp at Central Texas College in June where nearly 200 young boys were allowed to shoot BB guns and use bows and arrows.

“Foremost, safety is always first. We do not have firearms using gunpowder-propelled projectiles at Cub Scout Day Camp. The BB rifles do not leave the range and are always accounted for and locked up when the range is not in use,” he said. “Safety is always being taught and practiced in all our Scout events and for all Scout activities. All rules are strictly enforced and ranges are intensely supervised.”

Covert said personal firearms are forbidden at any Scout activity. Cub Scouts at the regional camp shot single pump BB guns.

“No one touches the BB rifle at the day camp until everyone understands the safety rules and this is enforced through several adults supervising the activity,” he said. “The BB rifles are always pointed downrange and never leave the range.”

Strongly enforced

Linda Twilleager’s son, Eric, of Cub Scout Pack 251, attended the June camp and agreed the regulations are not only rigorous but also strongly enforced.

“They placed a huge emphasis on safety. The boys are not allowed to enter the range without permission or leave the range without permission,” she said. “Safety is definitely stressed and the boys must repeat the rules back over and over to the Scoutmaster before undertaking any activity,”

Eric, 8, said of the more than a dozen activities at Cub Scout Day Camp, his favorite activity was shooting.

“He absolutely loves it and Scouting is a good place to start teaching children. Every child should know what a weapon is and how to properly handle it,” Twilleager said.

Long-standing policy

Covert said the Boy Scouts of America adheres to its long-standing policy of teaching its youth and adult members the safe, responsible, intelligent handling, care and use of firearms, air rifles, BB guns, and archery equipment in planned, carefully managed and supervised programs.

“The death in San Diego was the result of a handgun — obviously brought into camp from the outside,” he said. “This camp in San Diego does not have a range and specializes in water activities. This means potentially that the handgun was smuggled into camp.”

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