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NV Senate Passes “Pop-Tart” Bill to Prevent Student Suspensions for Pretend Guns

On Friday, the Nevada Senate passed a bill, nicknamed after an infamous incident in which a 7-year-old was suspended from school for eating his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun, that would prohibit public schools from disciplining children for wearing clothing depicting guns or gun rights opinions and playing with imaginary or toy weapons, provided that they are doing so in a non-disruptive manner.

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Barry Donegan
Barry Donegan is a writer, musician, and pro-liberty political activist living in Nashville, TN. Donegan served as Director-at-Large of the Davidson County Republican Party from 2009-2011 and was the Middle Tennessee Regional Coordinator over 30 counties for Ron Paul's 2012 Presidential Campaign. Follow him at facebook.com/barry.donegan and twitter.com/barrydonegan

Responding to what he called an environment of “political correctness taken too far,” Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R-Minden) introduced AB121, a bill nicknamed after an incident in which a 7-year-old Maryland child was suspended from school for eating his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. The bill would prohibit “a school from disciplining a pupil for simulating a firearm or dangerous weapon while playing or for wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or dangerous weapon or express an opinion regarding a constitutional right to keep and bear arms except in certain circumstances.”

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, the Nevada Senate passed the “Pop-Tart” gun bill on Friday without debate with 15 voting in favor and 6 voting in opposition. The bill had previously prevailed in the Nevada Assembly by a vote of 24-17. The proposal will now be sent to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s desk for his consideration.

The bill applies to students up to the 8th grade but grants high schools some leniency on banning toy weapons. Under the law, schools would be allowed to discipline students for using their imaginary weapons in a disruptive manner, in an attempt to cause bodily harm, or as a part of an effort to threaten others. The Las Vegas Sun notes that, if it were to become law, the bill would not override existing school uniform policies.

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While advocating for the proposal, Assemblyman Wheeler cited examples of outrageous suspensions taking place across the United States, including the case of a Pennsylvania 7-year-old who was suspended for possession of a toy gun and the plight of a New Jersey seventh-grader who was punished for twirling a pencil in a manner that officials claimed looked like a simulated brandishing of a firearm. Reno Gazette-Journal writer Trevon Milliard stated that “Wheeler and [the bill’s] proponents have provided no examples from Nevada” but noted that Wheeler said that the bill was intended as a proactive measure.

In June of last year, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a similar bill into law.

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