By James Lunt
(Reuters) - An 8-year-old Maryland boy who was suspended from school for nibbling a pastry snack into the shape of a gun has been given a junior membership in the National Rifle Association.
After hearing about Josh Welch's suspension from Park Elementary School in Anne Arundel County, a state legislator paid $550 to buy him a Junior Life Membership in the NRA, Welch's lawyer said on Thursday.
"I was embarrassed that my county would do that to him," said Nicholaus Kipke, leader of the Republican minority in the lower house of the Maryland legislature. He presented the gift to the second-grader Wednesday night.
The boy's lawyer, Robin Ficker, said he is appealing the two-day school suspension that started on March 1 when Welch ate away part of his Pop-Tart during class snack time so that it resembled a gun shape.
In the appeal, Ficker included pictures of the U.S. states of Idaho and Florida because "they look more like guns than Josh's Pop-Tart."
The Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman, Bob Mosier, declined to comment on the status of the appeal.
Ficker said the NRA membership gift was a great idea for the boy, who "is a good kid, a little rambunctious," because it would teach him proper handling of firearms. He said the boy's family does not own guns and the boy has never handled a gun.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg; editing by John Wallace)