Answering Why Gun Rights Backers Aren't 'Demanding Better Schools'

With Virginia flipping blue earlier this month, there’s been a reaction among gun rights advocates throughout the state. In particular, a number of states have declared themselves “sanctuary counties.” They aren’t going to enforce unconstitutional gun laws, which includes most of them.

Unsurprisingly, many take issue with the effort. While these are generally people who remain silent about immigration sanctuary cities, the idea of someone opposing laws they like is somehow an issue.

Perhaps the dumbest take, however, comes from an op-ed wondering why those in rural Virginia counties aren’t screaming for better schools instead.

Someday, future historians may look back and wonder how and why some people have become so attached to — or repelled by — an inanimate object. Local schools are struggling to keep up with the demands of the new economy — why don’t we see hundreds of angry people yelling at their elected officials to do something about that? The agitated people showing up to demand “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolutions are certainly sending a message to Richmond — but their absolute silence on schools sends a pretty clear message, as well. The problem is the message on guns won’t be well received by the legislature’s new liberal majority, while the lack of one on schools will be taken as an indication that a metro-dominated General Assembly can breezily ignore the condition of many rural schools. After all, we know people in rural communities can mobilize on something they plainly care about — so they must not care about their schools, and if they don’t, why should anyone else?

That’s surely not what the people showing up at these board meetings are thinking, but perhaps they ought to. That’s not meant to discourage people from civic participation on an issue they feel strongly about —in the abstract that’s always a good thing — but to offer some cold-eyed political perspective. Communication isn’t what is said, it’s what is heard — and what the General Assembly’s new majority is hearing from rural Virginia right now is that the only thing people care about is guns. If that’s not true, then it’s clear how to counteract the stereotype we’ve just walked ourselves into: Show up at the next supervisors meeting and demand more funding for the local school system — although that’s really not the best place to go. Most rural school systems get the majority of their school funding from Richmond, so show up at the General Assembly and demand more state funding.

So, because someone is passionate about something the author disagrees with, they’re somehow broken or something.

First, let me point out that you can hold multiple positions on a number of things at a given time. For example, you can support better education and gun rights. It’s certainly possible because a great many people actually do.

Next, let’s also keep in mind that education isn’t a constitutionally-protected right that’s somehow under assault. If the educational system is jacked up in Virginia, that’s a problem, but it’s not something that can just be changed overnight. Further, contrary to the writer’s thinking, it’ll take more than just “more funding” to improve a bad situation. Otherwise, you just throw good money after bad.

Plus, it’s not like there aren’t options out there for supplementing your child’s education. I’m on my second go-around through the public school system here and, frankly, it sucks. Yet I also make it a point to talk to my kids and educate them on other stuff. I don’t just trust their teachers to give them all the information out there, much less teach them how to actually think.

Yet what alternatives do we have when it comes to the Second Amendment? None. We either defend it here or lose forever.

Anti-gun sensibilities can be served in any number of other places. Those who despise guns could easily go there and “enjoy” the Utopia that gun control supposedly offers. Yet they don’t. They continue to push for these policies where the rest of us would rather they not exist.

So, some have pushed for sanctuary status in their counties as a way of creating something of a stronghold. After all, where else is there for them to go?

But no, they should instead be demanding more money for education.

Well, they can want better education for their children and their Second Amendment rights. The problem is, one is easier to address than the other. Making demands isn’t going to change that.