Americans frequently ask why there cannot be some compromise on the two major culture war issues of abortion and gun control. The answer has to do with the problem of overreach and, candidly, dishonesty on the part of the left.
When abortion first became a burning debate, those opposing the practice worried that allowing the procedure would eventually morph into infanticide. Later, another concern, the use of unborn babies for “harvesting” became a major worry. While advocates for abortion denied the danger, those worries proved all too valid.
Many abortion supporters have moved far beyond the concept of ending an unwanted pregnancy in the first trimester and have, in fact, supported the killing of viable fetuses and even newborn infants. That’s not an extremist tirade. In fact, former President Barack Obama, to cite just one example, has long endorsed the concept. As an Illinois legislator, he repeatedly voted against the “Born Alive Protection Act.”
Pro-life advocates oppose all abortions, but a larger portion of the citizenry appears to be comfortable with the practice if restricted to, at most, the first trimester. But abortion opponents proved correct. Once the procedure became common, it led to infanticide. Further, the use of fetal tissue for various purposes, with reimbursement, does occur.
There is a similar “slippery slope” with gun control. Proponents claim they only want to eliminate weapons such as the much-mentioned AR-15. President Biden recently stated, in support of that idea, that our Founding Fathers didn’t conceive of allowing citizens to own cannonballs. In fact, particularly on the frontier, communities did, in fact, possess cannons and ammunition for them.
But in the aftermath of several recent mass shootings, Mr. Biden, among others, hinted at also outlawing other guns as well, including some pistols. It is clear that advocates see the elimination of this particular model as the first step in an eventual attack on weapon possession in general.
There is an overwhelming lack of logic in the concept of gun control. A criminal who is going to rob, rape or kill will not care about breaking another law and illegally obtaining an AR-15 or any other type of rifle or pistol. Innocent civilians, who require and have the right to self-protection (especially in the era of underfunded police departments and rampant criminality) will, however, dutifully obey. That leads directly to the dilemma seen in cities such as New York and Chicago, where the honest population is largely disarmed and at the mercy of armed criminals. That situation is one that gun control advocates would duplicate nationwide.
The limitation of Second Amendment protections is part of an ongoing trend in which the left seeks to minimize key Bill of Rights protections not by direct repeal but by claiming that these rights are “not absolute.” New York Sen. Charles “Chuck” Schumer, a Democrat, who is now the U.S. Senate’s majority leader, proposed a measure that would limit free speech protections as they pertain to campaign donations. The proposed legislation, thankfully defeated, gained 43 Senate supporters — all Democrats. At a Senate Rules Committee hearing, Mr. Schumer stated that “The First Amendment is sacred, but the First Amendment is not absolute.”
Similarly, the restrictions of the Ninth and 10th Amendments, which provide that those powers not specifically given to the federal government belong to the people or the states, are often treated by the left as “not absolute,” as is the now diminished Fourth Amendment right to privacy.
Opponents of abortion and gun control have carefully observed the path the left has taken, and astutely point out that compromise leads to an overreach that threatens key basic protections.
• Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government, and co-host of the Vernuccio Novak Report.