OLYMPIA, Wash. -

The Washington state Senate has endorsed a National Rifle Association program to teach kids about gun safety.

Under the joint memorial passed Friday, schools and pre-schools would be encouraged -- but not required -- to adopt the "Eddie Eagle" gun safety program.

The program consists of an animated bird of prey telling preschoolers and elementary school students what to do when encountering a gun: "Stop! Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult."

Supporters of encouraging the program's use say it would save lives.

Opponents say they can't support the NRA-backed initiative when the Senate has yet to hold a hearing on a universal background check for gun purchases bill that the NRA staunchly opposes.

The joint memorial passed by a vote of 40-8 and goes next to the House.