The 8-year-old Anne Arundel County boy who was suspended for biting a pastry into the shape of a gun received standing ovation and a lifetime membership to the National Rifle Association Wednesday night.

At a fundraiser for Anne Arundel County Republicans, House Minority Leader Nicholaus R. Kipke presented Josh Welch with the membership, which cost $550, during a tongue-in-cheek presentation that involved a Pop-Tart fashioned into pistol and gun safety tips.

Josh's March 1 suspension from Park Elementary School for chewing a pastry into the shape of a firearm captured national attention over how seriously students should be punished for such threats.

Josh, who was 7 at time he was suspended for two days, gave the NRA certificate to his parents at the Glen Burnie event and returned to playing games on a cellphone.

"Everyone keeps asking me why I did it," Josh said. "I don't know why I did it. ... I wish people would stop asking me about it. It'll probably go on for 45 years or something."

Josh said he didn't know what the NRA was or what it meant to have a membership, but chimed in when his parents were asked whether anyone else in his family belonged to the NRA.

"Nope, only me," he said.

An attorney has filed an appeal to expunge the suspension from Josh's record. Anne Arundel County schools spokesman Bob Mosier said Wednesday that he could not comment on the status of the appeal.

Josh also received an autographed photo of himself with David Keene, the immediate past president of the NRA and the keynote speaker at the fundraiser.

ecox@baltsun.com