POLITICS

Florida's 'Pop Tart' Gun Bill Advances

02/07/2014 10:25 am ET | Updated Feb 07, 2014
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A proposed law in Florida would make it illegal for public schools to discipline students who support the Second Amendment, play with certain kinds of toy guns or simulate shooting with their fingers or with gun-shaped pastries.

Backed by the National Rifle Association, the measure has been nicknamed the "Pop Tart bill" after a widely publicized incident where a second-grader in Baltimore, Md., was suspended for biting a Pop Tart into the shape of a pistol. Last fall, a similar incident occurred in Florida when an 8-year-old was suspended for simulating a gun with his hand during a game.

The bill unanimously passed a Florida House panel on Wednesday and now heads to a full House committee to be debated.

"Simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or weapon or express an opinion regarding a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is not grounds for disciplinary action," says the bill, which was sponsored by state Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala).

The bill defines simulating a firearm to include "possessing a toy firearm or weapon made of plastic snap-together building blocks" and "brandishing a partially-consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm."

The bill would, however, still allow schools to punish kids if such playing disrupts learning or puts another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm.

Florida and other states implemented zero-tolerance policies for weapons, even make-believe ones, after infamous school shootings occurred across the country. Baxley told local NBC affiliate WJHG-TV that such policies are "well intended" but have "yielded some very overreactive responses." Other states, Oklahoma for example, have proposed similar measures to Florida's Pop Tart bill.

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