Ames Mayfield, 11, posed questions to Vicki Marble at group meeting. State senator was also asked about comments on African Americans
A Cub scout was kicked out of his group after he questioned a Colorado Republican lawmaker about gun control and contentious comments she made about African Americans.
The story, which spread via social media, represents another political flashpoint for the Boy Scouts of America, of which the Cub Scouts is a part. The organisation faced harsh criticism this summer, after Donald Trump used a speech at its national jamboree to rail against “fake news” and Barack Obama, boast about beating Hillary Clinton and reminisce about his hedonistic life in New York.
At a group meeting in Broomfield, Colorado, earlier this month, Cub Scouts were told to come prepared to talk to state senator Vicki Marble about issues important to them. Lori Mayfield, the mother of 11-year-old Ames Mayfield, posted footage of ensuing exchanges online.
Reading from a printed sheet, her son asked Marble about “commonsense gun control”. “I was shocked that you co-sponsored a bill to allow domestic violence offenders to continue to own a gun,” he said. “… Why on earth would you want someone who beats their wife to have access to a gun?”
The boy also mentioned a vote to repeal background checks on private gun sales, support for concealed carry without a permit, and the struggles of some victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting to afford healthcare for the injuries.
Fifty-eight people died and nearly 500 were injured in the Las Vegas shooting, when a gunman opened fire on a music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
“There’s something wrong in this country when Republicans believe it is a right to own a gun but a privilege to have healthcare,” Ames Mayfield said, before listing statistics on support for gun control and eventually being cut off by a male adult.
“That’s a great question and I am really very aware of those statistics,” Marble said. “And I have a concealed carry permit. I shoot. And all my sons shoot.
“And when you talk about the Las Vegas shooting, which was a horrible tragedy, that was a gun-free zone. Did you know that? Did you know the Aurora shooter [who killed 12 in a movie theater in 2012] was [in] a gun-free zone? It didn’t stop it, did it? They went and looked for those zones.”
Marble then said “it has been shown that the more guns a society has, the less crime or murders are committed” and cited Chicago and Detroit as “gun-free zones” with “more crime, more murders, than anywhere else in the United States”.
Advising Ames to “look at a lion in Africa, going after a gazelle”, she said shooters were “predators … and the prey are us”.
Lori Mayfield said a local scout leader told her after the 9 October event that the topic of gun control was inappropriate because of its political nature and that her son’s questions were disrespectful. The Boys Scouts have refused to comment on the reason the boy was asked to leave but have said he will remain in the Scouts after finding a new group.
“The Boy Scouts of America is a wholly nonpartisan organization and does not promote any one political position, candidate or philosophy,” the organisation said in a statement on Friday.
In videos recorded by Lori Mayfield, other scouts were heard asking about why people wanted to vote for Obama just because he was black and about Trump’s proposed wall along the US-Mexico border.
Marble drew national attention in 2013 after she seemed, during a legislative committee hearing, to link the health of black people to eating fried chicken and barbecue. The head of the state Republican party and others criticized her words. She issued a statement saying she was saddened her comments were taken to be disparaging.
During the scout meeting, Ames told Marble he was “astonished that you blamed black people” for their health problems.
She replied: “I didn’t. That was made up by the media. So you want to believe it, you believe it, but that’s not how it went down.”
Marble went on to say Americans enjoy multicultural food but cautioned that people also need to consider whether they are predisposed to any diseases because of their genetic makeup.
In a statement on Friday, Marble said she did not know about Ames’s dismissal until she read about it. She said she didn’t blame him because she thought there was an “element of manipulation involved”.
Lori Mayfield denied that. She said she and her son, whom she said is gifted and likes to watch the news, researched Marble together and she typed up his questions, using his words. The mother questioned why the Scouts would choose to invite such a controversial lawmaker to speak.
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