Missouri students could use food, pencils or their hands to imitate a gun without penalty under legislation endorsed by the state House.
The bill advanced Wednesday would shield students from discipline of fines for "simulating a weapon while playing."
Sponsoring Republican Rep. Mike Kelley, of Lamar, says he was motivated by the Maryland case of a Baltimore second-grader suspended last year for chewing a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun.
Opponents say the legislation could allow some students to encourage violence among their peers.
The measure would allow students to be disciplined for causing bodily harm, disrupting a learning environment or creating a serious threat. It needs one more vote before moving to the Senate.