TTAG reader Mark writes:
An idea dawned on me. How about gun rights advocates promote the idea of schools posting signs announcing that their campus is a “Gun-Free School Zone” (GFSZ)? Here’s the angle . . .
The anti’s believe GFSZs save lives. So let them put their policy where their mouths are. Either they 1) take us up on our recommendation and erect such signage; or 2) prove themselves hypocrites by refusing to inform parents of their school’s GFSZ policy. If a school already has a sign, gun rights advocates should lobby the school board to erect more, bigger and more explicit “No Guns Allowed” signs.
We should argue that these GFSZ signs are necessary to remind parents and other visitors who might have carry permits that carry at that school is (either) illegal or prohibited by policy. We should also argue that parents need to be reminded of the security measures – or lack thereof – prevailing at their children’s schools. In the unlikely event that a crazy or terrorist attacks their community school, they should know that the security policies in place were consciously considered by their school board, administrators and union shop-stewards.
[As for the idea that the prominent GFSZ signs would encourage an attack, I believe the negative effect of prominent GFSZ signs would be minimal/negligible. Anyone who’d attack a GFSZ is nearly certain to be aware – without signs – that the venue is defenseless. So, if and to the, extent that any school is inspired by our recommendation, the probability that that school’s signs would attract an attack at that school are remote.]
I very much doubt that any (or, at most, more than a few) schools will follow through on such a recommendation. Therefore, the actual effect would be to provoke discussion. Proper signage will remind every parent and member of the community that the children in that school are defenseless. For the committed Anti, the signs will simply reinforce their commitment to civilian disarmament. For the open-minded, repeated exposure to such signs will prompt them to re-consider the wisdom of a GFZ policy for their children.
People who aren’t particularly committed one way or the other are apt to be hooked-into a headline “Pro-gun org promotes gun-free school signage.” They start reading the article with the arguments pro- and con- and find that the con-arguments for GFZs are compelling whereas the pro- arguments are paper-thin.
My proposal to promote school signs leads logically to similar proposals for parks, malls, etc. Arguably, promoting school signs might encourage city councils to post parks and businesses to post their private premises. They are already aware of the temptation to post their venues; and, they know that they are permitted/constrained according to State law. The arguments we give for schools will have their obvious analogues for other venues. If the Antis take the bait we should be more than eager to run with it.
I think that Bloomberg might – net – be doing the 2A a favor by keeping the topic of gun rights before the public eye. Unfortunately, we aren’t doing a very good job of engaging the uncommitted public in the discussion. The MSM gives the gun-control slant to whatever Bloomberg does and suppresses our message. We talk to ourselves on the gun blogs but the uncommitted public doesn’t read our blogs. Somehow, we have to rope the MSM into giving us air-time.
We ought to be thinking about ways to tease the MSM into participating in a proper gun rights debate. We have to stop wasting our efforts preaching to the choir and start investing in getting the public debate into a rolling-boil. Any ideas?