How are things over in NRA-world, a mystical place in which logic runs backwards and the guns are as plentiful as the countless billowing American flags? Oh, about the same as usual — the gun bras are dangling off of clotheslines, the sound of delighted laughter is mingling with the ricochets of bullets at target practice, and the immemorial quest to turn the little ones into proud gun owners is progressing splendidly. For example, some clever Maryland Republicans have just offered a lifetime NRA membership to an 8-year-old boy who was suspended from school in March for chewing a pop tart into the shape of a pistol.

There are a lot of aspects of this story that are perplexing and quite a few that border on infuriating. On May 29, House of Delegates Minority Leader Nicholaus R. Kipke presented Josh Welch, a second grader who had been suspended for two days after eating a pop tart into a gun shape and allegedly saying, "Bang!", with a $550 NRA membership at a Republican fundraiser against Maryland's new gun law.

"Obviously, only Democrats in Maryland would think this is dangerous. Always remember safe handling of your Pop-Tarts. The Democrats will be outraged by this, but too bad," said Kipke as he wielded his own gun-shaped toaster pastry on stage, likening the high calorie breakfast treat to a firearm capable of taking scores of innocent lives.

Everything about the pop tart piece of the narrative is patently ridiculous: Josh says that he was trying to make a mountain shape out of the snack and, failing, turned it into a gun. His suspension was the result of a zero-tolerance policy for perceived gun threats, which was adopted in the wake of the horrific and tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School — while many rightfully think this was a disciplinary overreaction, there's still absolutely no justification for exploiting a child for political purposes (the NRA's actions are especially egregious because Josh's parents are actively working with a lawyer to get the suspension removed from his record; i.e., what they are seeking is diametrically opposed to more publicity).


After receiving the NRA membership, Josh said in an interview that he does not know what the organization is or what it means — so, good thinking on the NRA's part to educate a child about their purpose by turning him into a political pawn! Now he'll never forget what the NRA does!

This fiasco has prompted Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit, a Democrat, to offer to buy Josh a lifetime membership to the American Civil Liberties Union. In Benoit's words:

No one should tolerate the attempt by Anne Arundel County's Republican leadership to indoctrinate 8-year-olds into an extreme way of thinking. To put him up there and exploit him for the benefit of the far-right gun agenda is outrageous.


According to The Inquisitr, Josh is getting fairly tired of the attention. "I wish people would stop asking me about it," he said in an interview. "It’ll probably go on for 45 years or something.”

"NRA membership for boy sparks criticism" [Baltimore Sun]
Image via Jaimie Duplass/Shutterstock.