Dishonest Comparisons Between the Second Amendment & Government Funded Education

From Twitter, cropped by Dean Weingarten
From Twitter, cropped by Dean Weingarten

U.S.A.-( Writing in the Atlantic, Aaron Tang, Professor of law at the University of California, creates a profoundly misleading comparison of the Second Amendment with a fabricated entitlement to an education.

Tang attempts to make the case that Second Amendment supporters and proponents of a theory the Constitution guarantees a right to an equally funded state education are rough equivalents.

There are minimal similarities in the arguments: a basic right implies a level of supporting rights. You cannot have effective Second Amendment rights without access to ammunition and a place to train. You cannot have an effective right of the press without the ability to own and operate media. You cannot have religious freedom without preventing the government from closing down churches and stopping private choices of conscience.

Tang claims the argument that the right to vote implies the entitlement to a state-funded education is equivalent to the argument by Second Amendment supporters that the enumerated right to keep and bear arms implies the right to have access to firing ranges. From the article:

So what do the gun activists argue? It’s worth reproducing this argument from their brief verbatim, with emphasis added to a single word: “The right to possess firearms for protection implies a corresponding right to acquire and maintain proficiency in their use … after all, the core right to keep and bear arms for self-defense wouldn’t mean much without the training and practice that make it effective.” The Second Amendment may say nothing about the right to practice at a shooting range of one’s choosing, in other words, but that right ought to be recognized implicitly because it is important for an express constitutional right to have full meaning.

Now consider the argument advanced by advocates of a constitutional right to basic literacy. Like gun activists and their right to firearms training, educational-equity advocates recognize that the Constitution says nothing explicit about education. But surely a guarantee of basic literacy skills must be implicit in the document in order for its express rights to have meaning. As the Gary B. complaint puts it, “without access to basic literacy skills, citizens cannot engage in knowledgeable and informed voting,” cannot exercise “their right to engage in political speech” under the First Amendment, and cannot enjoy their “constitutionally protected access to the judicial system … including the retention of an attorney and the receipt of notice sufficient to satisfy due process.”

In order to reach this plausible-sounding bit of sophistry, Tang overlooks obvious, blatant differences.

The most obvious and fundamental difference, is no one is claiming the State must pay for Second Amendment training, the creation of ranges, or pay the costs of Second Amendment supporters who use those ranges. The Second Amendment arguments are all about stopping the state from preventing the exercise of Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment arguments are all about limiting the power of the government to interfere with Second Amendment rights.

An equivalent right to education already exists in the First Amendment, with the right to free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. The government is not allowed to prevent you from becoming educated.

On the other hand, the proponents of education equality are demanding more power for the state. They are demanding the government provide state-run schools. They are demanding the government take from some taxpayers and give money to other taxpayers, to fund what they demand.

They demand an expansion of government power and authority, exactly the opposite of Second Amendment supporters.

You cannot teach students who are unwilling to learn. Access to basic literary skills already exists. If students want to learn, there are numerous, relatively inexpensive means for them to learn. Parental attitudes are far more important than funding.  Some low funded schools produce excellent results and well-educated students. Some high funded schools produce horrible results and poorly educated students. Many students are taught at home, with excellent results.

Government-funded and run ranges are not required to exercise Second Amendment rights. They may be desirable. They are likely useful. They are not required.

Government-funded and run schools are not required for people to be literate and vote. People were literate and voted long before government-funded and run schools became the norm.

The arguments both use the word “implied”. The arguments have almost no similarity after that.

Federal government funding of schools has far more to do with creating a government-funded propaganda arm for the Democrat party, and funds for the Democrat party via teachers unions, than it has with creating literate citizens.

Government-funded schools may be desirable. They are likely useful. They are not required. Federally funded government schools are a recent development.

Professor Tang creates the illusion of equivalency of arguments with the assumption that a right to freedom from government interference is equivalent to an entitlement to government largess.

The Second Amendment is the protection of a fundamental right enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court has ruled the right existed long before the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. The right to become educated was implicitly protected by the First Amendment.  Voting was almost entirely left to the states, with the franchise gradually being expanded more and more and moreover the intervening centuries.

It is an enormous stretch to compare a right implied by a foundational, fundamental, enumerated right, such as the implied right to transport firearms to a range which welcomes you, outside the jurisdiction of your domicile; to an implied entitlement of a right to vote, to have the state pay for the education which you desire, by taking money from another jurisdiction to pay for the education in your jurisdiction.

He states Second Amendment supporters admit there is no explicit mention in the Constitution of the implied right to training.

Then he states the argument of an implicit entitlement of public education is equivalent. It isn’t. It does not start with an explicit right. It starts with a claim that an entitlement is required to exercise a right.  Exercise of Second Amendment rights does not require an entitlement.

An equivalent for the Second Amendment would be claiming the government must provide everyone with firearms.

There has never been a right to a government-funded education in the United States Constitution.  (Some state Constitutions have a right to education in the text, Arizona is one)

There has never been a Constitutional right to government-provided food.

There has never been a Constitutional right to government-provided police protection.

There has never been a Constitutional right to government-provided housing.

There has never been a Constitutional right to government-provided firearms.

Some of those things may be desirable. They are not Constitutional rights.

There can not be a legal right to those things, because Constitutional rights limit government. They protect you from what the government would do to you.

To say there are Constitutional rights to economic products is to say the government must control the economy and make sure everyone has equal outcomes. Otherwise, the “right” would not be “equal” under the law.

A right exists, even if you do not exercise it. Everyone has Second Amendment rights, not just gun owners.  Everyone already has the right to seek and obtain an education, protected by the First Amendment, even if they do not exercise that right.

This fundamental misapplication of the word “right’ requires a fundamental transformation of the structure of government. In essence, it requires the economy to be run by the government, with who gets how much determined by bureaucracies or the courts, instead of from a combination of effort, determination, skill, talent, luck, and, yes, government.

Some redistribution has happened, of course. Redistribution has never been a right. It is a combination of charity and forced redistribution of wealth, to use the force of government to take what would not be given.

This is exactly opposite of the theory of the Constitution.

Constitutional rights limit what government can do to you. They do not define what governments must do for you. Limiting what the government can do to you does not take resources from someone else.

To equate the arguments for implied Second Amendment rights, which limit what the government is allowed to do, with implied requirements for the government to pay for an education is fundamentally dishonest.

After setting up the argument, by ignoring the direct, obvious differences between a foundational right restricting government, and a demand for more government to take from some, and give to others, Professor Tang makes this statement:

The identical logical structure that underpins these otherwise distinctive arguments presents a puzzle for the Supreme Court. How can it in good faith accept a theory of implied constitutional rights for gun owners only to reject the same argument for schoolchildren? Yet the consensus among close followers is that this is the most likely outcome: Gun-rights activists believe the Court is primed to deliver them a victory in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, while educational-equity advocates recognize that the Court’s conservative majority is unlikely to rule in their favor.

They should rule differently. The logical structure is not identical. It is fundamentally different.

The information about the difference is well known in legal circles. It is hard to believe Professor Tang does not understand the theory of natural law and the need to limit governmental power, which is foundational to the entire structure of the Constitution.  The federal government is granted significant, but limited powers by the Constitution. The power to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms is not one of those powers.

He rejects that structure. He works hard to replace it with the Progressive construct of a living Constitution; a Constitution meaning only what the current justices are pressured to have it mean at any given moment.  Attorney General William P. Barr recently gave a superb speech clarifying the differences in the Progressive vision of expansive government versus the founders’ vision of limited government.

The Second Amendment has been infringed in various ways over the history of the United States. Those infringements do not change the foundational right. The Supreme Court has ruled the right to keep and bear arms existed long before the Constitution. The Second Amendment is in place to protect the right, not to create it.

Until 1968, citizens could order anti-tank and anti-aircraft cannons and their ammunition in the mail. Most people, in most places, had easy access to modern firearms, ammunition and ranges.

The Supreme Court is coming out of a long period, during which the words of the Constitution were often ignored, exactly because of the Progressive vision of government Professor Tang is promoting.

An important part of the theory of Progressive governance is the necessity of lying to the population, in order to achieve the objectives the governing elite wishes to enact. This is called “manufacturing consent“.

The United States is in the process of rejecting that theory, and in restoring a Constitutional government of limited powers.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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The Atlantic rarely has an article that is right minded. Progressives are confused and their world, left up to them would be an oppressive nightmare. You hear this BS from Tang, who was educated by the wrong minded progressives before him.


Well put. This should be obvious to anyone though, that just because you have a right to something doesn’t mean you get it for free.


– We all have the right to pursue happiness. Not only is that pursuit far from free, nothing guarantees anyone will achieve it.

Have often heard the best way to achieve happiness is to pursue noble long-term goals – directly pursuing happiness generally only produces short term results.

Deplorable Bill

Seek first the Kingdom of GOD and HIS righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.

Arm up, carry on.


This what they teach our children in Universities across the country profoundly misleading bullshit!


The Atlantic Magazine may be America’s oldest communist publication disguised as journal. We must all prepare for the near future when it is inevitable an all communist US government will exist. Obama almost pulled it off. It will happen. And the time to prepare for a communist takeover was during Obamas regime. Continuing preparation should be ongoing to this day. The fight to remain free will not be easy or quick. Look to Venezuela for our future under a Sanders communist regime. Maybe it will be AOC in 15 years. Never surrender. Think it cant happen in the US. The… Read more »


Clearly Tang is using his position and profession to promote a political position. Univ. of CA – Davis, Clerked for Sotomayor basically say it all – he’s a wannabe political hack not a constitutional authority. His academic peers and leadership should be publicly vocal in their criticism of his supposed legitimate analysis. … Bottom line: “All lawyers are not created equal.”


“Professor of law at the University of California” was all I needed to read to know all I needed about Aaron Tang. Thanks Dean for an excellent article pointing out the fallacies of the “Professor” and the facts of the Constitution.


Like the late, great Merle Haggard once proclaimed. “ I don’t want no handout living, and I don’t want anything they’re giving and if you want anything you’ve got to hump and git it!”

Ryben Flynn

California Laws are about restricting rights, not protecting them.


What If the Court Saw Other Rights as Generously as Gun Rights? False premise. You have no Constitutional right to a publicly funded education. That policy comes later, beginning with some of the first ordinances passed by our first Congresses. The right to keep and bear arms comes from British common law and predates the Constitution. The author confuses positive and negative rights. You have no affirmative right to get a publicly funded education as a Constitutional right. The false logic tries to stretch this to what is obviously a negative right by any reading. The right to keep and… Read more »


The right to keep and bear arms comes from British common law and predates the Constitution

Not quite, but sorta close. The right to arms is from our creator, and is part of our birthright, It DOES predate the US COnstitition, it also predates British Common Law. And Blackstone knew this. And this right SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.. by ANYONE or ANYTHING. It is ours, inviolable. By any force.

Deplorable Bill

nrringlee; The RIGHT and the mandate to keep and bear arms IS FOUND IN SCRIPTURE. Luke 22:36 This is further written into law as the 2A. Socialism/communism has been taught in public schools and college since the mid 60’s. The word; BRAINWASHED comes to mind. If you tell people a lie for long enough and loud enough they will believe it’s the truth. A. Hitler.

Arm up, carry on.

Green Mtn. Boy

Mr.Tang hasn’t a effing clue when it comes to the Constitution and most likely much else, next wanna be tyrant.

Will Flatt

This is what Leftists always do, take basic Constitutional Law and turn every principle on its head so they can destroy our constitutional order. Moreover, our nation’s founders had a term for people like this: domestic enemies.

Now why can’t Little Quisling Harold write quality articles like this?? Oh yeah that’s right, he’s a lying pompous compromising shill incapable of the caliber of writing that we get from REAL gun writers like Dean here, and Jeff Knox, David Codrea, John Crump, Duncan Johnson and practically everyone else.

moe mensale

Geez, you can’t let Harold go, can you? This isn’t even his article but you still drag him into it and then shit on him. Your obsession with him is starting to look like a sure case of mental illness on your part. But, hey, keep up the good work!

moe mensale

Just start your own petition like Willy did. I bet it wouldn’t be that hard to get 100 signatures.

But don’t confuse “Will Flatt” and “Will.” Two separate posters.

Will Flatt

Moe, you can have a convo with yourself all day and you won’t fool anyone. I’m actually glad that asshat hasn’t posted these last few days, wish you would do the same. That being said, go away troll, run home to mommy!


Leave off harold bashing for harold articles. You’re like a dog on a bone. Not to say your points against Harold are not valid… but sheesh, are ya gonna start bashing Harold out on the golf course, at your local watering hole, sandwish or coffee shop?

Will Flatt

Dog on a bone? I suppose that’s a fair assessment, but I’m just highlighting the contrast between the quality of his articles and the rest of these, for your comparison. But I am not intending to post about this on every article every time about the little turd; that would be counterproductive. This is just a final push to get everyone to share this petition on their social media – something for which I have no metrics, so all I can do is beat the drum a little bit more. But you know what’s REALLY interesting?? What’s VERY informative is… Read more »


@WF – Harold is incapable of writing like Dean Weingarten, but then few of us are so eloquent. Would do not do much good to remove him from the site without a better replacement. While I generally disagree with much he says, I feel he adds something to this website – if only the amusement of reading Harold bashers below any of his articles. Getting to be a bit much when you and Will distract us from useful articles with your Harold hating. Yes he’s a quisling, but he is generally harmless. At this point I think his biggest weakness… Read more »


He states Second Amendment supporters admit there is no explicit mention in the Constitution of the implied right to training. FALSE. That pesky Second states that BECAUSE a “well regulated” militia is NECESSARY for the security of a free state, the members of that “well regulated militis” have the OBLIGATION to bECOME “well regulated”, that is, trained, equipped, able to perform to standards of skill, etc. A militia and its individual members, cannot be “well regulated” as demanded by the Constitution, without TRAINING. How stupid can this guy possibly be to think this way? And he is a “perfesser” at… Read more »

Deplorable Bill

In the 2A, the word militia implies military arms and military training. A well regulated militia, being necessary….

Arm up, carry on.


Definitely, “well regulated” is the term for the state of readiness (which requires weapons of war and training). Nice catch!


Since the government gives free education and supplies i want free guns and ammo.
Now I’m using his argument against him.
I paid for my gear but my education was free.
We all know what’s in the constitution and the order.


“But surely a guarantee of basic literacy skills must be implicit in the document in order for its express rights to have meaning.” You can’t have it both ways: If a literacy test being required to exercise the right to vote is unconstitutional (which has been so held by the SOTUS), then Professor Tang’s analogy fails miserably. If being literate is assumed as necessary to exercise the right to vote, then such a test would have been upheld. The fact is, illiterate people indeed DO have the right to vote, and Professor Tang must needs go back to the drawing… Read more »


One could easily say that the pesky first clause of the second amendment directly supports the right to train, practically elevating training to a duty. Gun control advocates like to harp on the necessity of a well regulated militia, this looks like a good time to return the favor. One could easily argue that treating gun rights the same as education would require government supported training and mandated training for children. However as Mr Weingarten so eloquently explained – that would require increasing governmental power, size and intrusiveness. There are valid arguments for government supporting education, but they center more… Read more »


The government throws money at schools and in turn, they crank out entitled imbeciles.

a.x. perez

So, he wants:
You must sign a form to enroll in each class that you are a legal resident, not guilty of certain crimes. and mentally competent.
The FBI will do a background check for each class that you meet requirements above.
Certain classes require a special license (Pre -cal, for example), including a six month long background check, 200 dollar tax, and proof that you need that class for a socially acceptable reason.
What scares me is that there are people who would like these restrictions on education.


“without access to basic literacy skills (etc).”
Naturally the author skips the part about the 2A and the attendant right to self defense being necessary to the safe acquisition of the basic education in the PS system. Seems that puts the 2A in the superior position. AND constitutional rights are the things that require governments to secure. The rest are things any one can secure for themselves (think Lincoln studying law by the fire place).


I hope Dean sent this to the editors of the Atlantic [email protected] I did


Well, Jaque, you stole some of my thunder. You are correct about the Atlantic Magazine. It is infested with left wing Jews. That old saying applies: “Know your enemy.”


Too often, the nonsensical left tries to take “Life” to mean free healthcare, and “pursuit of happiness” to mean free and unearned wealth. They gleefully skip past the “Liberty” portion because that requires responsibility, fortitude, and a sense of self reliance. It is kind of hard to be self reliant when one depends on the government teet for sustenance.


Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness does not require an education. But it does require common sense, ambition, and self-reliance.


you cannot change the context in which the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written. Leftists do this with everything, they think they are everchanging documents to suit the whims of the mob. where does it say that abortion is a right? at that time most children were educated in their homes, firearms were and continue to be to defend against tyranny both from abroad and domestic. make sure you vote in November to get rid of the establishment politicians.