Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Common Ground at Last? Finger-gun Wielding Obama Provides Lesson for America's Schools

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Common Ground at Last?  Finger-gun Wielding Obama Provides Lesson for America's Schools

Attention overbearing public school administrators: you might want to remove any portraits of the 44th U.S. president hanging on your walls. In a recent Affordable Care Act promotional video produced for the website Buzzfeed, President Barack Obama uses his index finger and thumb to form a finger gun and aim it at the viewer. Apparently, the commander-in-chief has not been briefed on the supposedly anti-social, threatening, and disruptive nature of this gesture, so we are here to help.

The video, entitled, “Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About,” features Obama engaging in various silly activities aimed at portraying him as a regular person, in order to promote his healthcare program. At the beginning of the video, the president is positioned in front of a mirror. After some prolonged mugging, he dons a pair of sunglasses and wields a finger gun at the camera, as if showing off his best secret agent impression.

Unfortunately, the harmless fun the President of the United States is having in the video is, when indulged in by elementary school students, all too often treated by oppressive school officials as a violent offense demanding punishment. Mere weeks after the video’s premiere, a Colorado first-grader was suspended from school for a similar gesture. “Of course I think he was playing,” his father told a reporter. “What six-year-old doesn’t play cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians?” Indeed, the White House would surely agree, what guy of any age? 

Back in November, 10-year-old Nickolas Taylor of Milford, Mass. was suspended for two days from his fifth grade class at Stacy Middle School after he cut a line in the cafeteria at lunch while brandishing an imaginary finger “ray gun.” The incident prompted the Taylor family to explore home schooling.

In 2013, 8-year-old Jordan Bennett was suspended from Harmony Community School in Harmony, Fla. for forming a finger gun during a game of cops and robbers with a friend. In an interview with local ABC-affiliate WFTV, Jordan’s mother, Bonnie Bennett, told a reporter, “He had nothing in his hand. It was a finger gun, a pretend gun… He didn't threaten violence. He didn't utter words that were inappropriate. He made a sound and used his fingers and that was it.”

Perhaps most appalling, in 2012, the parents of a 3-year-old deaf preschooler named Hunter Spanjer were told by school officials in Grand Island, Neb., that Hunter’s sign language name was inappropriate for school. Hunter signs his name by extending and crossing his index and middle fingers, which produces an appearance akin to that of a finger gun. The school system eventually backed down after media coverage of the incident provoked a public outcry, and the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of the Deaf got involved.

It is incidents like these that have prompted NRA to endorse state legislation protecting children from the overwrought enforcement of zero-tolerance “safe school” policies. In 2014, Florida was the first state to pass legislation some referred to as “The Right to Be a Kid Act” or the “Pop-tart Bill” (after an incident where a Maryland student was punished for chewing a breakfast pastry into the shape his teacher thought resembled a gun). The law makes clear that students are not to face disciplinary action for harmless behavior “[s]imulating a firearm or weapon while playing” or for “wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or weapon or express an opinion regarding … the Second Amendment ….” The bill outlines a list of specific non-punishable conduct, including, “[u]sing a finger or hand to simulate a firearm or weapon.” Since becoming law in Florida, lawmakers in Oklahoma, Texas, and Nevada have pursued similar legislation.

It’s not often that the NRA and this president find common ground. We apparently agree, however, that imaginary gun gestures made in good fun or during imaginative play are perfectly normal and acceptable behavior, even for the leader of the free world in a video he uses to promote his public policies. Hopefully, the president’s example will prompt overzealous school administrators to think twice before needlessly punishing a child who follows his lead.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Barack Obama
TRENDING NOW
Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

On Monday, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) – joined by co-sponsors Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rand Paul (R-KY) – introduced S. 59, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (HPA). Similar legislation was introduced in the ...

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

Inspired, perhaps, by Oscar Wilde (“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess”), Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced two new sweeping gun control bills, with Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) and Rep. ...

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

On January 3rd, Congressman Richard Hudson (R-N.C.8th) introduced H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which simply allows lawful firearm carriers from any state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state. The bill ...

Supreme Court Asked to Review California’s Restrictive Carry Regime

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Supreme Court Asked to Review California’s Restrictive Carry Regime

On Thursday, the NRA-supported case Peruta v. California took an important step towards restoring the right to bear arms in California.  The plaintiffs in the case, California gun owners and the California Rifle and Pistol ...

Virginia: Senate Committee to Hear Numerous Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Virginia: Senate Committee to Hear Numerous Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tomorrow, January 18, the Senate Courts of Justice is expected to hear and possibly vote on several firearm-related bills.

Increase in Violent Crime: National Trend Driven by Local Politics?

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Increase in Violent Crime: National Trend Driven by Local Politics?

The FBI released its Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report earlier this week and the bad news is that violent crime increased for the second consecutive year.

Kansas: Bill Introduced Attempting to Repeal Pro-Self-Defense Law

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kansas: Bill Introduced Attempting to Repeal Pro-Self-Defense Law

In 2013, the Kansas Legislature passed the Public Building Security Act, pro-gun legislation that amended the Personal and Family Protection Act. 

NRA Statement on Nomination of Ryan Zinke to Secretary of the Interior

News  

Friday, December 16, 2016

NRA Statement on Nomination of Ryan Zinke to Secretary of the Interior

Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement on the nomination of Congressman Ryan Zinke to be the Secretary of the Interior

Indiana: Legislative Session Begins with Numerous Pro-Gun Bills Filed

Friday, January 13, 2017

Indiana: Legislative Session Begins with Numerous Pro-Gun Bills Filed

With the 2017 Indiana legislative session underway, we are happy to report that a number of pro-gun bills have been filed.

The NRA Bids Farewell to Roy Innis, Civil Rights Champion: June 6, 1934 – Jan. 8, 2017

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

The NRA Bids Farewell to Roy Innis, Civil Rights Champion: June 6, 1934 – Jan. 8, 2017

America lost a civil rights icon and a true free thinker with the death of Roy Innis on Jan. 8. For the NRA, his departure was personal. Mr. Innis served on the NRA’s Board of ...

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.