Friday, February 07, 2014

Florida Bill Would Protect First Amendment Firearms Rights at School

T- shirt banned at California school; image of hunter with rifle on right
Image courtesy of

HB709 has been introduced into the Florida house to protect students from abuses that have crept into the schools under the rubric of "zero tolerance".  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
or weapon.
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 


Wireless.Phil said...

These people are truly nuts!
I will NEVER go to Colorado for anything, ever!

Anyway, ran across this:
I never noticed that the Scarecrow Was Packing In The Wizard Of Oz.

10 Fascinating Facts About Guns In Pop Culture

Regardless of your stance concerning the private ownership of firearms, you’ll likely concede that many of the most arresting scenes in Hollywood history involve gunplay, from tense Clint Eastwood standoffs to shootouts between debonair secret agents. Below are 10 facts about guns in pop culture, from Oz to the outer reaches of the universe.

Wireless.Phil said...

Sorry, I got Colorado mixed up with Florida, anyway I won't go to Florida either!