Monday, July 15, 2013


R-Texas Congressman:Leave children who play with 'pastry guns' alone.

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, wants to take away federal funding from schools that punish children who play with "imaginary" weapons.

Gun control policies: Texas Rep. Steve Stockman
Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, center.
A Texas congressman is trying to stop schools from punishing kids who play with "imaginary" guns.

Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, a staunch gun rights advocate, has introduced a bill that would take away federal tax dollars from schools that "outlaw harmless expressions of childhood play."

"Too often so-called 'zero tolerance' policies are being abused by school authorities to punish children for innocent play or, worse, try to indoctrinate them to be terrified of anything even shaped like a gun," Stockman said in a press release. "Instead of nurturing young minds these policies are traumatizing children who did nothing wrong, or instilling in them irrational fears."

He recently introduced H.R. 2625, the Student Protection Act, which he said would "end the practice of using federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize schools that enforce these policies that abuse and harm young children."


Ever since the December school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., there has been a rash of incidents involving children with toy or imaginary weapons:

• In Talbot County, Md., two 6-year-old boys were suspended in January for making gun gestures with their fingers while playing "cops and robbers" during recess.

 • A 7-year-old Colorado boy was suspended in February for playing with an imaginary hand grenade during recess.

• A Maryland second-grader was suspended from school for two days after he chewed a Pop Tart pastry to resemble a gun and then pointed it at the ceiling and said "bang, bang," according to his father.

• In April, a 14-year-old in Kentucky was suspended from school and arrested for wearing an NRA T-shirt with an image of a hunting rifle and the words "Protect your right."

• A 6-year-old Palmer, Mass., kindergartner who brought a plastic G.I. Joe Lego toy gun on a school bus in May was given detention and ordered to write a letter of apology to the bus driver and fellow student passengers.

"Schools should be places where children learn. Punishing children for playing 'cops and robbers' or taking a bite out of a Pop-Tart that makes it somewhat resemble a gun is not healthy for children," Stockman said.


His bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Stockman is one of the more conservative members of the House. In January, he threatened to start impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama to counter the White House's use of executive actions to enact stricter gun control measures.

Last month he announced he was raffling off a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle to thank people "for defeating Obama's anti-gun agenda this year."

Stockman served one term in Congress for Texas' 9th congressional district from 1995 to 1997. He was re-elected to the House in 2012, running in the new 36th Congressional District.

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