By Dean Weingarten
Labeled in the old media as the ‘Pop-Tart' bill, the proposed legislation actually provides some protection for what have become egregious overreactions on the part of school administrators.
For example, the bill protects the wearing of shirts with pictures of guns on them, clearly a free speech issue, in reaction to the California case that made national headlines.
While HB709 recognizes that possession of a firearm or weapon is grounds for disciplinary action, or even criminal prosecution, as a matter of law, it clarifies that mere simulation of a weapon as part of play is not worthy of punishment. From HB709:
Simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or
43 wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or weapon
44 or express an opinion regarding a right guaranteed by the Second
45 Amendment to the United States Constitution is not grounds for
46 disciplinary action or referral to the criminal justice or
47 juvenile justice system under this section or s. 1006.13.
48 Simulating a firearm or weapon while playing includes, but is
49 not limited to:
1.Brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food
item to simulate a firearm or weapon.
2.Possessing a toy firearm or weapon that is 2 inches or
less in overall length.
3.Possessing a toy firearm or weapon made of plastic
snap-together building blocks.
4. Using a finger or hand to simulate a firearm or weapon.
5. Vocalizing an imaginary firearm or weapon
6. Drawing a picture, or possessing an image, of a firearm
7.Using a pencil, pen, or other writing or drawing
utensil to simulate a firearm or weapon.
Penalties are allowed if the actions of the student are disruptive to learning or threaten another's physical well being.
Notice that lines 43, 44, 45, and 6. are direct protections of first amendment rights to freedom of speech and political expression. While these rights are diminished for minors at public schools, they are not extinguished.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.