Louisiana Lawmakers To Consider New Law That Could Send Kids as Young as 5 to Jail
Lawmakers will consider a controversial new law tomorrow that could send Louisiana students as young as 5 years old to jail, according to this report from Houma Today. House Bill 43 is being proposed by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton tomorrow when the Louisiana House of Representatives adjourns for their latest session. She is doing this at the urging of Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington. The bill is turning a lot of heads because it is would effectively ban the possession of “imitation firearms, projectiles or ammunition” in Louisiana schools, this includes school-sponsored events or within 1,000 feet of campuses. Just to be clear, "imitation firearms" includes bb guns, firearm replicas, co2 powered guns (like paintball), and toy guns. Really, the law is open to anything that could be that could be reasonably mistaken for a firearm.
When we live in a zero-tolerance world where people are reasonably mistaking sticks and pop-tarts for weapons, this kind of vague wording is a little worrisome. The more worrisome part is that fact that the way the law is written, a Kindergartner could be arrested and have criminal charges brought against them. Violators would not only have this mark on their record, but could receive fines (up to $500) and prison time up to 6 months!
Can you imagine your 5 year old being cuffed, stuffed into a cruiser, fingerprinted, having their mugshot taken, then thrown into the slammer for picking up a stick and saying "bang"? Will we have special pediatric cells with sad Sesame Street characters painted on the wall?
I know that violence in schools is out of hand, but the cure may be worse than the problem here.