Country living and guns often go together. That includes those who make their living off the land.

That's why we applaud Madison Consolidated High School's Introduction to Agriculture class. This year, each student taking the class earned a hunter safety certificate.

Students went through a two-week training at the start of the course with Jefferson County Conservation Officer Andy Crozier.

The students - mostly freshmen - learned about different firearms, how to handle them safely, basic hunting skills and how to be a responsible hunter.

This year, 80 students at Madison earned their safety certificate through the introduction class.

"We bring a lot of guns and archery equipment in. We try to bring in the actual items so they can get their hands on them and not just see them in a picture or in a book. We let them see how it functions," Crozier said.

Crozier's message also is delivered to those who have no plans of ever hunting.

The main point of the course is safety, he told a Madison Courier reporter. He tells students who have no intention of ever hunting that they probably live in a house with a gun or have been to a house with a gun located inside, and knowing how to handle a gun safely is something that could potentially keep them safe.

State law in Indiana requires that anyone born after 1986 who receives a hunting license must graduate from a hunter education course. Students who go through the course will have met that requirement and be able to apply for a hunting license.

Responsible efforts such as this have gotten lost in the gun debate.