In an age of endless partisan bickering, one piece of legislation is pulling both Republicans and Democrats toward a gooey, fruit-filled center: the so-named ‘“Pop-Tart Gun Bill,” which decriminalizes harmless gestures in Florida schools.
The bill is supported by both the National Rifle Association and Democratic state legislators. Its aim is to bar schools from punishing students for making innocent gestures, like drawing a gun or pointing at another student as if holding a gun.
While it may seem obvious that children should not be disciplined for wielding purely imaginary weapons, students around the country have been vigorously punished by paranoid anti-gun administrators. In one of the more famous cases, a Baltimore-area seven-year-old was suspended after chewing his pop-tart into the shape of a gun. (RELATED: 8-year-old boy suspended for ‘Pop-Tart Pistol’ receives NRA lifetime membership)
Other students have received suspension for pointing their fingers at each other and saying, “bang,” or playing “war” with their friends during recess.
“Obviously we don’t want firearms brought to school in a backpack,” said state Rep. Dennis Baxley, a Republican, in a statement to CBS Miami news. “But we were definitely having some over-reactions.”
For once, a Democrat agreed with what her Republican colleague said.
“I support the bill so that people will be able to have that flexibility,” said Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, a Democrat, in a statement.
The legislative subcommittee approved the bill unanimously, 13-0. It will now head to the state House floor.
Policies that punish children for harmless gestures or innocent mistakes have come under increasing scrutiny lately. Related “zero tolerance” policies, which punish students for carelessly and mistakenly bringing contraband to school, have also been a target of the NRA, legislators from both sides of the aisle, and President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice. (RELATED: Felony weapons charge for student who brought fishing supplies to school)