Barely a month ago the powerful Louisiana Sheriffs' Association was lining up behind a bill to ban toy guns from public schools.
Now the legislation is dead, a victim of Republican infighting and the politically potent National Rifle Association.
"It just did not sit well," said Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton and sponsor of the measure.
The prefiled proposal, House Bill 43, was aimed at helping law enforcement combat what officials call a growing problem – students bringing toy guns to public schools that look identical to the real thing.
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Banning the guns, Horton said, would help prevent police from having to make a split-second call, and injure or kill a student wielding a lookalike pistol.
The prohibition included toy guns, water guns, air guns and others "substantially similar" in color and appearance to a genuine firearm.
First-time violators faced fines of up to $250 and six months in jail, though Horton said she planned to change the penalties amid complaints about elementary students being jailed.
Horton took up the cause at the request of Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington, a self-described "gun guy" who called the fake guns "so real it is scary."
However, the Louisiana Legislature is considered one of the most gun-friendly bodies in the nation.
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Any legislation that even hints at gun control, toys or otherwise, can spark arguments.
And Horton, who described herself as a Second Amendment enthusiast who has a gun permit, said all along she planned to check with NRA officials before finalizing plans.
The group's response? Not good.
"I worked with them for about a week and a half," she said.
The lawmaker, herself a member of the NRA, said officials of the organization thought her bill was an "overreach."
Horton said NRA officials would not even agree to remain neutral in the debate.
Asked if the group's stance played a key role in her decision to dump the bill Horton said, "I am not going to go against something I am a part of."
NRA officials in the Washington, D. C. area did not respond to requests for comment.
Sheriff's Association Executive Director Michael Ranatza did not return calls over two days.
A spokesman for Whittington said Friday the sheriff hoped that an ordinance in Bossier Parish, where he is sheriff, would serve as a statewide model to curb imitation guns.
Horton said she was taken aback by the hostile reaction to the bill from unnamed fellow Republicans, whether they had read the bill or not. "Just started to attack," she said of the GOP reaction.
The overall party response, she said, "seemed to be just totally out of control."
"This is imitation guns we are talking about," Horton said.
Larry Carter, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, praised the bill last month.
Carter said that, while the legislation needed some penalty and other tweaks, it could help prevent a tragedy. "There wasn't support like she thought for that kind of bill," he said Friday.
The measure was likely headed to the rural-dominated House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee, where it would have faced an uphill battle.
Horton's short-lived proposal sparked widespread attention for the low-profile lawmaker, including a YouTube presentation on the merits of her plan.
Most measures that die in the Legislature simply languish in committees, or get quietly shelved with little debate.
Horton took the unusual step of making it disappear forever.
Those who try to read House Bill 43 see this message on the state House website: "Withdrawn from the files of the House prior to introduction."