In the wake of the Newtown murders, many on the left have, predictably, been calling for new controls on arms ownership. What's of interest to me is the apparent irony of their position, especially when it's accompanied by a kind of contemptuous disbelief that anyone would take gun rights seriously as a matter of principle.
Here's what I mean: Many of the most ardent exponents of abortion rights will take pains to clarify that they are not "pro-abortion"; rather, they are "pro-choice." The distinction, of course, is meant to signal that, although they themselves find abortion morally distasteful, they have a principled objection to depriving a woman of the "choice" to abort her baby. In other words, they are willing to tolerate the possibility that abortion rights will sometimes be misused -- whether as a form of birth control, gender-selection, or any other number of ways -- because they believe the evil of restricting the right to no-questions-asked abortion is even greater.
Given all that, it's remarkable that ardent lefty "pro-choicers" seem either unwilling or unable to understand the position of those who support gun rights, notwithstanding their awareness that some deranged, evil people will misuse them. Certainly, they can disagree with the moral calculus of gun-rights advocates, but surely at least some of those who demonize the National Rifle Association are enthusiastic supporters of the National Abortion Rights Action League or Planned Parenthood. People like President Obama spring to mind.
Finally, though I support abortion rights in cases where rape, incest or life of the mother is implicated, I'd point out that, except in the latter instance, the primary purpose of an abortion is always to end an innocent life (one that, except in the cases above, has been created -- even if accidentally -- through a consensual act). Guns, by contrast, often protect and defend innocent life.
So I'm not really sure by what right pro-choice liberals claim the moral high ground in demanding gun control.