In Depth

Scout ‘asked to leave troop’ for quizzing senator

11-year-old Ames Mayfield’s questions on gun control deemed ‘too political’, mother says

An 11-year-old scout says he was asked to leave his troop after grilling a visiting state senator about gun control and healthcare.

Ames Mayfield seized upon the chance to share his views with Senator Vicki Marble when she paid a call on his Cub Scout den in Broomfield, Colorado to answer their questions earlier this month.

Speaking a week after the Las Vegas strip spree shooting that killed 58 and injured hundreds, Mayfield pushed the Republican lawmaker to explain her party’s policies on firearms.

“I was shocked that you co-sponsored a bill to allow domestic violence offenders to continue to own a gun. Why on Earth would you want somebody who beats their wife to have access to a gun?” Mayfield asked.

Reading from a list, the boy went on to ask the senator why access to guns was considered a right while healthcare remained a privilege, along with another question about alleged comments Marble had made linking African-American diabetes rates to eating chicken.

A Cub leader cut him off after two minutes to allow Marble to respond, and afterwards “both the senator and the leader commended him for his ‘thorough’ list of questions,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

The grilling was recorded by Mayfield’s mother, Lori, who insists that she did not coach her son or push him to speak. She posted footage of the encounter online, where it attracted some coverage in the local press.

Five days later, she says, she was invited to meet the pack leader who oversees a number of Scout dens in Broomfield.

“He let me know in so many words that the den leader was upset about the topic of gun control,” she told the New York Times. “It was too politically charged.”

“He communicated that my son was no longer welcome back to the den,” she said.

When contacted for comment, the Boy Scouts of America would only say that Mayfield had since joined another local Cub Scout den and that they were “pleased” that he would be continuing as a scout.

“We are committed to working with families to find local units that best fit their needs,” said the group, which represents 2.4 million boys and 1 million volunteers across the US.

However, Lori Mayfield told the Tribune that her son was “heartbroken” to leave his den.

The 11-year-old’s apparent dismissal on political grounds has provoked a backlash. “Exiling the fifth grader from his peers strikes us as an unnecessary and hurtful overreaction,” the Denver Post said in an editorial, applauding the boy’s willingness to ask “tough questions”.

Gabrielle Gifford, the former Democratic congresswoman who was shot in the head by a deranged constituent and now campaigns for measures to reduce gun violence, tweeted her support for Mayfield:

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