8th-Grader Banned From Wearing Pro-Gun Shirts Sues

Lawsuit calls policy unconstitutional
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 26, 2018 12:39 AM CDT
The Sparks Black Rifle gun store is pictured in this photo taken Wednesday, April 25, 2018 in Sparks, Nevada.   (AP Photo/By Scott Sonner)
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(Newser) – An eighth-grade student has filed a federal lawsuit accusing his northern Nevada school district of violating his First Amendment rights by telling him his pro-gun T-shirt violates the district's dress code. The suit filed in US District Court in Reno alleges the Washoe County School District policy prohibiting depictions of "anything that promotes weapons" is unconstitutional, the AP reports. It says the discriminatory nature of the policy is underscored by the fact the school district allowed students to participate in recent protests in support of gun control. The boy has been disciplined twice for wearing pro-gun clothing—once last November and once on March 12, the Reno Gazette Journal reports.

One shirt had a logo for a local gun store, Sparks Black Rifle, with silhouettes of a rifle and a handgun. The other didn't depict any weapons but promoted the Firearms Policy Coalition—a gun rights advocacy group—with the words, "Don't Tread on Me," the lawsuit says.The lawsuit was filed by Reno lawyer David O'Mara on behalf of the youth and his parents. The suit says the Depoali Middle School student has a First Amendment right to speak out in favor of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. "The shirt did not promote or advocate any illegal activity; it contained no violent or offensive imagery; nothing on it was obscene... It was pure political speech," the suit states.

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