GUNS

‘Pop-Tart’ gun bill would not punish children with simulated weapons at school

 

Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau

The Florida affiliate of the National Rifle Association has a new priority: the right to bear Pop-Tarts.

The group is supporting a proposal that would prevent children from being disciplined for playing with simulated weapons in school.

That includes “brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food,” according to the bill.

The language refers to a Maryland boy who was suspended for chewing his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. He was later given lifetime membership to the National Rifle Association.

The Florida bill would protect schoolchildren who play with imaginary guns, miniature toy guns and toy guns made of snap-together building blocks.

Children would also be free to draw pictures of guns, or hold their pencils as if they were firearms. They could still get in trouble, however, if their play disrupts class or hurts a fellow student or teacher.

“Obviously, we don’t want firearms brought to school in a backpack,” said state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who introduced the proposal. “But we got into a lot of simulated behaviors and overreacted.”

The proposal won unanimous support on the House K-12 Subcommittee last week, and was immediately christened the “Pop-Tart Bill.”

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer said the better name was the “Right-to-be-a-Kid Bill.”

“This is about children and not traumatizing children for doing things that kids do,” she said.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.

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