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Finger guns, the lethal weapons of choice of absolutely no one, are in the news again.

Every so often we write about over-the-top reactions to harmless things or actions with some nebulous but apparently nefarious gun-related nexus, like the by-now notorious case of the seven-year-old second-grader suspended for chewing a breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun.

A school official admitted that while a student “used food to make inappropriate gestures that disrupted the class,” there were no “physical threats” made and no one was harmed. In another  case, a ten-year-old boy was suspended from elementary school after “making his fingers look like a gun, having the thumb up and the pointed finger sticking out,” which the suspension letter called a “level 2 look alike firearm.” Here, too, no one was hurt or scared or threatened and, most obviously, no firearm was involved.

Last month, a six-year-old Alabama boy was reportedly suspended from elementary school for making a “finger gun gesture” with “bang, bang” sound effects during a recess game of cops and robbers. His “gun fingers” came to the attention of school authorities, who instituted disciplinary proceedings.

Finger gun gesture pennsylvania illegal

The boy’s father alleges that school staff “interrogated” the child, and made him “confess and then sign his name” to a “Class III infraction” form.

According to a news report, the suspension notice specified the child committed a “3.22 Threat,” which the school’s handbook classifies as a “threat/intimidation of student.” Examples of 3.22 violations listed in the handbook include “a threat to kill, maim, or inflict serious harm; a threat to inflict harm involving the use of any weapon, explosive, firearm, knife, prohibited object, or other object which may be perceived by the individual being threatened as capable of inflicting bodily harm.”

Class III infractions more generally include serious crimes like arson, assault bomb threats, burglary, and sexual battery. The father notes that actually punching or hitting a student would have been a lesser Class II infraction, “so in the eyes of these school administrators, a finger gun is more serious than punching a classmate in the nose.”

An attorney representing the family confirms that the recess game “did not threaten any other students, did not disrupt any class activities, and did not interfere with school functions in any way.” And while the school has since “downgraded” the violation to a slightly less ludicrous “Class II Infraction,” the parents are seeking to have the disciplinary action removed from their child’s school record and to have the school refrain from punishing students for “age and context appropriate playtime activities which cause no substantial disruption, contain no actual, implied, or perceived threat, and pose no danger to anyone,” regardless of whether the staff have their own issues with “gun finger” play.

Unfortunately, this sort of foolish overreaction isn’t limited to children’s playgrounds.

The National Football League recently levied fines of $13,659 each against two Cleveland Browns players, quarterback Deshaun Watson and tight end David Njoku, for a “violent gesture” that occurred in a September 25 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Video of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it exchange between the two teammates was captured in a tweet and apparently shows the two pretending to fire guns after a touchdown, “during what appeared to be their own signature handshake.”

Watson was also fined for twice grabbing the facemask of an opponent in the same game – and although that involved actual physical contact (“unnecessary roughness”), the fines for those transgressions were less than the fine for the use of his “gun fingers.” Even more interestingly, the NFL reportedly opted not to penalize Watson for “shoving an official” during that game, a move that the NFL Rulebook cites as warranting a disqualification.

Two adult teammates sharing an innocuous joke on the field, though, is somehow more problematic.

One has to wonder which of these (if any) is the real “violent gesture,” especially in the context of the target-rich environment an intrinsically physical and potentially dangerous sport presents. A former player, now a CNN sports anchor/correspondent writes about his time in the NFL that “football is a violent game – and always has been.” Another commentator states, just as succinctly, that “the physicality and the violence is part of what makes football, well, football.”

These unequivocally harmless gestures attract some strangely disproportionate consequences, considering we have yet to read about any gun finger-related fatalities. Watson’s and Njoku’s one-second interaction will cost them a total of $27,318. The parents in the breakfast pastry incident spent three-and-a-half years and untold dollars litigating the matter of their child’s disciplinary record (which uses the word “gun” four times) before reaching a settlement with the school.

Poptart gun
The horror…the horror….

The Alabama case is already being handled through an attorney. Other children who have their finger-gun incidents result in official discipline face being unfairly labeled as violent or dangerous as they progress through the educational system.

What’s next? Charging pet owners who train their animals to fake keeling over (herehere, and here) when a finger gun is “fired,” with animal abuse and cruelty?

What’s truly alarming about these incidents isn’t just the anti-gun bigotry that seems to be in play, but the inability of responsible professionals to distinguish a genuine threat or violence from what clearly isn’t – when even children and pets understand the difference between real and make-believe.


This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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    • Actually he didn’t call her a dirty name. He called her a fat lesbian. She is fat and she identifies as a lesbian. Where is the crime.?

    • The media tells me Switzerland is a festering cesspool of populist right-wing fanatics. If their populist right-wing fanatics are anything like ours I doubt they’d do such a thing.

  1. This falls on the parents of students that don’t take control of school boards. That have and are destroying the education system by implementing Liberal/Progressive democrat ideologies. Instead of educating children on basic educational elements. Reading, writing, math. science and english. The dumbing down of the educational system is having and has had the most devastating of effects on the overall growth in our society. All as planned by those behind the curtain within the Democrat party over the last 50+ years. We have seen the enemy…and it is US. Because of our own weakness and willingness to cede our responsibilities to the Government, NEA and the USBA.

      • Having zero tolerance for liberal/progressive democrats and the Evils they perpetrate, is absolutely intelligent.

        • Moreso when you understand why zero tolerance is not only warranted but essential for survival.

        • Tolerance of unacceptable / evil choices is the main reason for the prevalence of unacceptable choices.

          “Tolerance” of things that aren’t evil is just plain arrogance. Imagine someone saying “I tolerate your skin color.”

    • It begins with Finger Gun Control and if such a level of insanity is allowed to continue it can end with Gun Owners on trains to Concentration Camps…

  2. OMG, most of us, if not all of us, would’ve been predicate felons if you went to public school up to the 1970’s to 1980’s. Three strikes = life in prison. When wokeness should be put to sleep…permanently.

    • Indeed. This goes through my head every time someone comments about “doing something” before a shooting “because there were signs”. Look at roughly 100% of the people in positions to interpret the “signs” before you think of giving them that power.

    • When we were kids in New York City we did not use finger guns to shoot each other; we used cap guns. We all had them, and rolls of red paper with circles of gun powder were readily available. But you had to make sure your roll of ammo was tightly wound and loaded to prevent a failure to fire.

      Lots of arguments like this: “You’re dead. I shot you.” “No, You missed and I shot you!”
      “I did not miss!! You are DEAD!”
      “No I am not, you’re the one who is DEAD.”

      Fond memories!!
      And none of us were arrested, suspended, detained, or censured.

      • Oh man I can relate. I was a bit of a bully as a kid in the 60’s. Maybe. being the youngest of 3 son’s played a part. We played war in our neighborhood filled with kid’s. Didn’t realize it was paradise & would all get worse. My profile pic on fakebook has me in a cowboy outfit with my capguns in hand. I was 4. Never shot anyone🙄

        • Yea we played what we called “war” with plastic guns in my neighborhood. Loved it. Yea a whole lot of arguments over “you didn’t hit me i was behind the tree”

      • We used bb guns No more than two pumps. A lot of welts. None us are murderers, all are well adjusted people.

        • Ditto or no pumps lever action. All was going fine until “Blockey” got an eye shot out.
          So we made a rule, No shuting at the head, and the wars continued.

      • ever take a whole roll of those caps and slam a brick down on them while they’re sitting on the pavement?….pretty spectacular!

        • YES!!! I never saw anyone do it and it just occurred to me to try. It was like my own Alamogordo moment.

    • Good God, the crap we did in junior high and high school! We took those Estes rocket kits, packed the rocket full of home made gun powder, and launched it in the middle of the night.

      *** BANG ****

      The entire neighborhood woke up.

      We could buy the ingredients for the gun powder at the local pharmacy: saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur.

      Any kid doing that these days would be tried as a terrorist.

      • Yep, and I think that’s a lot of the problems with kids nowadays. Theyd like a little of that freedom too.
        No more.

  3. In this moment, I’m proud to be a Texas Tech grad. Wreck’em Tech! [finger gun! finger gun!]

  4. My 1st grader took a HK45 SOCOM airsoft pistol to school in his backpack. The vice principal thought it was cool and asked that he please not do it again. Thank God civilized parts of the country exist here in the south.

  5. what the heck is a “level 2 look alike firearm” ?


    They must live on planet dacian in its capital city of Capitalvania, because here on earth in actual reality there is for an absolute fact no such thing as a “level 2 look alike firearm” finger gun.

    These are suppose to be educated people, they are complete idiots.

      • they not only want to get rid of guns….they want to get rid of the idea of guns…unfortunately someone forgot to tell hollywood….

        • Video games etc yeah too much money to be made so lets just punish kids that don’t know better to get them used to being abused by beurocrats and not being able to fight back.

  6. Pro-tip:

    STOP trying to ascribe some well-intentioned miscue or oversight of rational thought to people like the school administrators who are the subject of this article.

    They are purposeful and intentional in their actions. Demonizing firearms and any civilian association with firearms is intentional and malicious.

    • UC,

      Agree. And adding that the public school system cannot be saved; it is a rotting hulk that should be melted down for scrap.

      • No need to melt it, just give parents a real opt out option so they aren’t forced to pay for public school whether they send their kids or not. competition will take care of it quickly. An the teachers unions know it.

        • The problem here is there are many people that will open up schools(religions, cults, odd political idealogies) and just indoctrinate the students without teaching the basics, leaving them(if they are lucky) to finish school in remedial classes(and we will foot even more of the bill).
          When the schools are privately funded, the parents pay(or search for help). At least no one is profiting from the taxes paid for education.

        • rt66paul,

          At least no one is profiting from the taxes paid for education.

          No one except the politicians, administration, teachers, staff, vendors, and “educational” program creators.

      • you pay for it…you should have some say in how it’s run…suspect school board elections will be more carefully scrutinized in the future…or at least they should be…they’ve developed this weird idea your kid belongs to them

  7. Soon they’ll ban pointing a finger…because ya know, striker fired 😉 Only finger-1911 and wheel guns have a thumb hammer

    • and to think I actually used to bring guns into the classroom…flintlocks, percussions, sure…but guns nonetheless…and no one batted an eye…

      • When I was in eighth or ninth grade I was taking a speech class and one of the speeches we had to deliver was “Demonstrative” in which we had to bring in at least one physical object and show how it operated or how to perform some function on it or with it. A classmate of mine brought in a S&W Model 36 and his speech was titled, “How to Disassemble, Clean and Reassemble a J Frame Smith & Wesson Revolver.” After the speech, he passed it around for everyone in the class to look at.

        Imagine the horror today.

    • Bottle rockets was the best in my opinion, Roman candles were to slow.
      60 years and it all went to hell, to many frivolous lawsuits.

      • Yes as im sure many here used to, we designed some fun little bottle rocket guns. For the roman candles we just held them. Slow but those suckers would burn a hole in you if they got stuck in clothing etc

  8. As a kid from the 50’s and early 60’s it’s a wonder any of us survived to procreate.
    Riding in cars with no seatbelts, riding bikes with no helmets, shooting each other with cap guns or the old red ryder BB guns, playing football with no helmets or pads, climbing trees, jumping off tree limbs into lakes, drinking water from the garden hose, playing outside without direct adult supervision until the street lights came on.
    Between the perverts and busybodies running around today it is no wonder the kids are so screwed up.

  9. “What’s truly alarming about these incidents isn’t just the anti-gun bigotry…”

    it isn’t anti-gun bigotry against these school kids just being kids, its emotional violence and psychogical threat/intimidation/coercion violence being perpetrated against them by threatening aggressive ‘authority’ from school staff.

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