Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

A Return to Sanity? Lawmakers Push Back Against Zero-Tolerance Abuses

Friday, February 7, 2014

We've all seen warning labels on products that leave us scratching our heads and wondering, is that really necessary?  A popular sleeping pill, for example, cautions it may cause drowsiness.  Chainsaws have stickers admonishing users not to hold the saw by the blade.  A certain hand-held hairdryer even contains an advisory that it is not for use while sleeping.

Although most people could figure these things out for themselves, many of these labels likely come with a back story too bizarre for ordinary imaginations to conceive.

Such is the case with  Florida HB 7029, which on Wednesday passed out of the House Education K-12 Subcommittee by a 13-0 vote on its way to introduction.  Some are simply calling it the "Pop-Tart" Bill or the "Right to be Kids" Act.  We might well wish that those who educate and oversee America's children during the school day would instinctively understand that a toaster pastry could not reasonably be mistaken for a handgun, but a mounting list of back stories have unfortunately proven otherwise. Thus, HB 7029 emphasizes the need for often well-intentioned but increasingly overzealous educators to pause, take a breath, and consider the facts before mindlessly applying "zero tolerance" disciplinary polices aimed at keeping harmful weapons out of schools.

A number of illustrative absurdities have been chronicled on this site and the pages of other media outlets.  Besides the infamous Pop Tart incident, students have received suspensions and other harsh disciplinary actions, sometimes involving the police, for such "infractions" as pointing pencils or fingers at each other while making "shooting" sounds, drawing a stick figure with a gun (and a water gun at that, according to the seven-year-old "perpetrator"), and having a picture of a gun as a screensaver on a computer.  Students have also been punished--and, yes, arrested--for incidents arising out of NRA or firearm-themed t-shirts.  Not only are graphics on cloth objectively unable to cause physical harm, such attire can be constitutionally protected speech, according to prominent civil rights attorney Chuck Michel.

It's enough to make a person think that what's really being punished is any action or expression that suggests the idea of a gun, even if it is not disruptive or threatening.  In other words, what started out as policies aimed at gun crime have degenerated into a form of thought crime.

Thanks to this long train of abuses, HB 7029 would enshrine in statute the principle: "Simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or wearing clothing … that depict[s] a firearm or weapon or express[es] an opinion regarding a right guaranteed by the Second  Amendment  … is not grounds for  disciplinary action or referral [for prosecution]" under Florida statutes that prohibit "[b]ringing a firearm or weapon … to school …."  The bill goes further by specifically mentioning examples of presumptively innocent conduct, including "[b]randishing a partially consumed pastry … [v]ocalizing an imaginary firearm or weapon … [or] [d]rawing a picture, or possessing an image, of a firearm or weapon." 

The bill is not, however, intended to create yet another legislative straightjacket and allows educators to take into account the individual circumstances of an event.  Thus, they can still act if a simulation "substantially disrupts student learning, causes bodily harm to another person, or places another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm."  The bill also does not prohibit schools from adopting a policy requiring the wearing of uniforms.

Florida, moreover, is not the only state to be considering a bill of this sort.  A similar measure is pending in Oklahoma.   

We don't celebrate the fact that egg cartons now bear the warning, "This product may contain eggs."  Similarly, the abuses that necessitated these bills do not speak well of level-headedness (or the lack thereof) in today's schools.  We can only hope that these measures will have a moderating effect well beyond their jurisdictions and remind all concerned of the need for simple commonsense and the recognition that while kids will be kids, adults should aim higher with their own decision making.

TRENDING NOW
Gun Control Supporters Race to Embarrass Themselves Following OSU Stabbing Attack

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gun Control Supporters Race to Embarrass Themselves Following OSU Stabbing Attack

Guinness World Records may refuse to acknowledge feats pertaining to the lawful exercise of right to keep and bear arms, but how about a world record for most shameless attempt to politicize tragedy? The competition would ...

Home Defense - Mastering Bushes vs. Bushmasters

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Home Defense - Mastering Bushes vs. Bushmasters

A while back, we wrote about an inane NBC Today Show segment that recommended homeowners rely on car keys and wasp spray to defend themselves against burglars and other home invaders. A former New York ...

DNC Chair Frontrunner Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is an Anti-Second Amendment Radical

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

DNC Chair Frontrunner Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is an Anti-Second Amendment Radical

It appears that those gun rights supporters hoping that the leaders of the Democratic Party would engage in a moment of self-reflection following their historic defeat in the 2016 election may be left wanting. Despite ...

Gun Sales Deny Critics, Set Record on Black Friday

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gun Sales Deny Critics, Set Record on Black Friday

With the election of Donald Trump in early November, many mainstream news sources predicted a substantial downturn in gun sales. Some even claimed that Trump’s victory would cause slower sales on Black Friday, which is ...

California: Bullet Button Guns Must be Purchased and Received by Dec 31st

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

California: Bullet Button Guns Must be Purchased and Received by Dec 31st

Recently the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms sent out a notice to California firearms dealers with information regarding the recently passed “assault weapon” legislation, SB880 and AB 1135.

Elites Reserve the Right to Decree What is "Fake" and What is "News"

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Elites Reserve the Right to Decree What is "Fake" and What is "News"

Legacy media corporations like the New York Times and Washington Post have big problems right now. Consumption of their product is dropping. Public confidence in them has tanked. And in front of the nation and the world, they blew ...

New Jersey:  Urgent! Legislation Puts Shooting Ranges in Crosshairs

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Jersey: Urgent! Legislation Puts Shooting Ranges in Crosshairs

Shooting ranges as we know them may be a thing of the past if anti-gun politicians have their way in the Garden State.  A pair of dangerous bills are scheduled in the Assembly Law & ...

Eleventh Hour Changes to Federal Firearm Form

News  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Eleventh Hour Changes to Federal Firearm Form

In what will hopefully be one of the final acts of the Obama Administration on firearms, the ATF on Monday announced that its proposed changes to the Form 4473 would go into effect on January ...

Illinois: Update on Suppressor Legalization Legislation

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Illinois: Update on Suppressor Legalization Legislation

Senate Bill 206, legislation which would legalize the possession and use of suppressors in Illinois was not brought up for consideration today.  However, this important pro-gun bill could be brought up for consideration at any time and your ...

News  

Friday, July 1, 2016

California Governor Signs Draconian Gun Control Package into Law

Fairfax, Va.— California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday a package of gun bills that were rushed through the state legislature with no regard for proper process. The National Rifle Association Institute for ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.