On Sunday, I appeared on MSNBC to debate a Democratic strategist on the merits of arming well-trained teachers. His argument, basically, is that it would be dangerous for teachers to have guns at school. He, like many on the Left, holds the fundamental belief that more guns equal more problems.
My argument against him was not the opposite -- that more guns equal fewer problems -- but that the choice to carry a gun should be given to teachers who wish to do so. That is my stance on the Second Amendment: not that everyone should have a gun, but that people should be free to have one.
As is typical after appearances on left-leaning networks, my Twitter mentions were filled with accusations of being a “fool,” a “nut job,” and “ridiculous.” (I got called much worse, but I’ll keep it G-rated.)
@conservmillen Watching you now. Wow, you are a special kind of KOOK. “Specially trained teachers with guns”. We ex… https://t.co/s25HoQuUXc— Rudy Zappa Martinez (@Rudy Zappa Martinez)1519584967.0
@conservmillen You just sounded absolutely ridiculous. Clearly you don't really care about keeping kids safe to ech… https://t.co/SZDrQHXTjo— AngelaLoveNotes (@AngelaLoveNotes)1519585437.0
@conservmillen I saw your segment and now I'd like to put you on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.— Rob Simons (@Rob Simons)1519585173.0
@robsimons24 @conservmillen Total nutjob...— Rachel London (@Rachel London)1519585254.0
All of this, simply for stating that teachers who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights should be able to do so. For those who don’t, I say, “Don’t.”
Perhaps gun control advocates aren’t listening, or perhaps gun rights advocates aren’t communicating clearly, but to me, and to many conservatives, this isn’t about guns -- it’s about freedom.
I was born and raised in Dallas. Though guns are a part of Texan culture, I wasn’t really around them growing up. I hunted once with my dad when I was about eight, but we weren’t the shoot-skeet-on-the-weekends type of family. We had guns in a safe in our house, but I never saw them. As far as I know, neither of my parents ever carried guns when we were kids.
Even now, as a conservative commentator, I’m not a firearms fanatic. My husband and I own guns, and I know how to use them. But guns are kind of like cars to me: I’m glad people have them, I want to know how to operate them safely, but I don’t care to learn everything there is to know about them. I don’t like driving, and I’m not obsessed with shooting either. I’ll go the range for practice, but it’s not something I do for fun.
The reason I adamantly stand up for the Second Amendment isn’t because I love guns -- it’s because I love liberty. I appreciate the fact that our country escaped the clutches of government oppression by defending ourselves with firearms. I realize that every right given to us by God and protected by the constitution is safeguarded by our right to bear arms. I’m aware of the reality that criminals break laws, and they won’t be stopped by a ban on assault rifles. I know that if I am attacked by a man, I’ll only have a fighting chance with a firearm. I might not be the world’s number one gun fan, but I sure as heck don’t want the government to tell me I can’t have one. It is against the tyranny of forced defenselessness that I fight, not for the gun itself.
Women and men who want to defend themselves can take self-defense classes, carry pepper spray, conceal a blade, or keep a can of silly string in their pocket for all I care. While a gun is arguably most effective for self-protection, I would never assert that people must carry guns if they don’t feel comfortable.
But to tell a vulnerable teacher that she must succumb to violence – that she cannot protect herself and her students with a firearm -- is not only tyrannical, but downright cruel.
Leftists in the media don’t like this take on the Second Amendment argument -- one that focuses on freedom rather than firearms -- because it’s logical. This perspective is focused on equality and common sense -- not gun fanaticism. They would rather paint gun owners and the NRA as senseless, merciless, paranoid murderers-by-association because that bolsters their narrative that guns, not people, are inherently evil and need to be regulated.
There are too many occurrences of the media’s false binary to list all of them, but there are a few examples on CNN, CNN again, ABC, Good Morning Britain and, of course, the political experts on late-night shows.
There is even this insane notion on the Left that not only do conservatives want all teachers to be armed, but that we want to pay for teachers to be armed. On Twitter, expert-on-gun-legislation David Hogg, 17, presented us this false choice of “arming teachers” or “educating students in S.T.E.M.”
Here's a radical idea, how about we don't spend money on arming teachers we spend it educating students in S.T.E.M… https://t.co/VXjPcIU40E— David Hogg (@David Hogg)1519652571.0
I haven’t actually heard any legitimate conservative voices assert that the government must require -- and pay for -- teachers to carry firearms. Yes, President Trump suggested that there be bonuses for teachers who receive firearm training, but it is incorrect to say conservatives want the government to force gun ownership. A Washington Post correspondent seemed to miss this when he concluded that Trump wants to add “50 percent to the size of the military by mandating that nearly three-quarters of a million people be trained and prepared to take up arms to defend civilians.”
Who said anything about a mandate?
Who in their right mind wants anyone to operate a firearm who is not comfortable doing so? I don’t know of anyone -- especially not Second Amendment supporters who both know and care deeply about gun safety. Eliminating gun-free zones, as Trump is potentially proposing, is not the same as forcing anyone to be armed.
But this is the current narrative du jour on the Left, this idea of conservatives shoving guns into people’s hands without consent:
The NRA wants to put guns in the hands of: • Schoolteachers • Preachers • Anyone who goes into a nightclub • Women… https://t.co/MLJwLd3lLV— VICE (@VICE)1519418161.0
The @NRA has sold savagery as freedom and barbarism as liberty for long enough. They don't deserve to tell the rati… https://t.co/I7Tbb9ppDf— Joy Reid (@Joy Reid)1519752517.0
Giving guns to teachers? That's an army we don't need – or want | Ross Barkan https://t.co/2l8gwHNip6 https://t.co/iZQV9BDzz6— Guardian US (@Guardian US)1519334786.0
This insistence upon casting all Second Amendment supporters as gun-obsessed, complicit nutjobs is exactly what continues to drive us so maddeningly far apart. The truth is, many conservatives actually do want to discuss the wide range of solutions offered to make our country safer. That is precisely why Dana Loesch, spokeswoman for the NRA, attended a CNN town hall with survivors of the shooting. That is why the president met with the students to listen to their concerns. Have we ever seen a Planned Parenthood spokesperson honestly address grievances of pro-life advocates? Has Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards ever hosted a town hall to hear anti-abortion activists speak?
No, because they aren’t open to discussion on the subject.
But, unlike the them, we are. Many conservatives are open to the gun debate. Yes, when discussing guns, we will always prioritize stopping the next mass shooter rather than the next mass shooting.