pro life gun control

As Democrats and Republicans fumble their way toward a Grand Bargain to avoid the fiscal cliff, the tragic shooting in Connecticut points to the need for another, more important compromise. As with the fiscal cliff talks, I’m under no illusion that my compromise will be implemented. But as with the fiscal cliff, we’ll learn a lot if we ask why such an obvious solution cannot get done.

If you’re an average American, you have strong feelings against half of this phrase:  “pro life gun control.” Which half depends in large part if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. In light of what happened on Friday, Democrats are right to raise the question of gun control. But Republicans can’t help but notice the irony—the utter lack of self awareness—in Democrats who are rightly outraged at Friday’s gruesome killings by a stranger but would defend the right of those same children’s mothers to more gruesomely kill them in the womb.

So on behalf of the children—which is what both sides claim to care about—I offer the idea of a Grand Bargain. Republicans vote for gun control—even kick in the death penalty for good measure—if Democrats agree that it’s morally wrong, and should be illegal, for a mother to abort her child (except when necessary to save the life of the mother). Whichever side cannot agree to this compromise loses all moral authority to govern.

I like this compromise in part because both sides have much in common:

1. They both defend extreme positions, partial birth abortion on the left and the need to possess assault rifles on the right.

2. Both claim criminalizing their position would be difficult to implement:  are we able to collect the more than 200 million guns that exist in our country vs. are we going to fill our jails with women who had abortions? The answer is No on both counts, but we could, as David Brooks mentioned, limit the number of bullets that exist in our land and we could, as everyone knows, punish doctors who perform illegal abortions.

3. Both sides realize that their view is increasingly difficult to defend. Ultrasounds have lowered the support for abortions, as even supporters now concede they should be rare. And school shootings have lowered support for the right to bear arms, for even gun owners have kids.

4. Both sides will say that the other position, not their own, is the problem that must be solved. Great! That is the beauty of this compromise. Each side can give up something they cherish in order to eliminate what they believe is a scourge on our kids. If they won’t do this, then one can only conclude that they love their freedom to abort or their freedom to bear arms more than they love their own children. Is that something they want to admit?

A side benefit of this compromise is that it will benefit our other Grand Bargain. If we can compromise to save our kids, then we’ll have more children to pay back all the money their grandparents already spent. Everyone wins, especially the children.

I understand the politics makes this compromise virtually impossible, but that’s another reason to get behind it. The sheer difficulty of this task supplies an opportunity to show our children how much we love them. Someday when they ask why we gave up our beloved rights to eliminate the evil on the other side, we can say we did it for them. After all we have stolen from them, don’t we owe them this much?

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10 Responses to pro life gun control

  1. Jonathan Shelley says:

    Mike,
    I can think of several so-called rights I would gladly forfeit to end the slaughter of the innocent, but as history has shown us time and again, banning something doesn’t make the problem go away. I agree that criminalizing abortion and limiting access to deadly weapons would be a good start, but how do we take the next step: changing the hearts and minds of people so that these laws would be unnecessary?

  2. Jason Gray says:

    I agree with the sentiment…but the whole argument is based on a presumed (but unproven) faulty premise that gun control is somehow morally equivalent to abortion.

    If the deal truly was “exchange assault rifles for making abortion illegal” I would champion that cause all the way. No question. Easy trade. No thought needed.

    But your argument doesn’t make much sense because you are taking 2 issues that are in different stratospheres morally, and then equating them as if they are on the same level. For example, in #1 you say that the “extreme” positions are “partial birth abortion” and “the need to possess assault rifles”. How could you possibly equate these 2 things? One could be misused and abused and lead to violence, though not necessarily so….the other is the confirmed barbaric murder of another person with no possibility of it not resulting in death. Yes, they are the extreme positions of the pro-abortion camp and the pro-gun camp…but they are not morally equivalent extremes nor are these 2 issues on the same level of morality issues.

    I get what you are going for, and I appreciate your attempt…but IMO this fails because you are taking an issue that is amoral with sometimes immoral results (gun control) and raising it to the moral level of something that is ALWAYS wrong because it ALWAYS ends in murder (abortion).

  3. mikewittmer says:

    Thanks, guys. My response to both of your questions is that my piece is purely political. I am not meaning to suggest that both positions are morally equivalent, only that at the moment they seem to be politically equivalent. So why not trade one for the other? If the left assumes owning an assault rifle is morally equivalent to partial birth abortion, that won’t bother me much as long as they’re willing to agree that abortion is illegal. I’m willing to suffer some ideological impurity for the sake of the children.

    Regarding how to change hearts and minds, only the gospel can do that. And since we still possess that, I will remain optimistic regardless what happens politically.

  4. Jason Gray says:

    “I’m willing to suffer some ideological impurity for sake of the children.”

    Amen to that!

  5. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.

  6. Jody Harris says:

    I think I figured out the part that really grates on me — you are willing to trade a right (that you apparently do not care for) in exchange for something you want (the end of the wanton murder of the innocents).

    We have to be very careful when we start offering up the rights of others in exchange for something we desire (no matter how righteous the desired outcome). Are we also willing to trade in free speech for the end of abortion? Are we willing to forfeit the right to peacefully assemble? Are we willing to trade in our right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure?

    What you and the media are calling “assault rifles” are something that has never been issued by the United States armed forces for battle, and have a myriad of recreational, sporting and competition uses.

  7. mikewittmer says:

    Jody: My family has lots of guns and I enjoy target shooting, so I don’t think it’s fair to say I don’t care for this right. The reason why this compromise occurred to me is that both sides accuse the other of claiming rights that hurt our children. So it seems appropriate to put both of these on the table. Your examples of free speech, peaceful assembly, and unreasonable search are arbitrary and unrelated to protecting the life of our children. So it would be inappropriate to use these in negotiation.

    Don’t worry, though. I’m sure this has little chance of happening, if for no other reason than the pro choice side has little reason to compromise. They seem to have enough momentum against the gun rights side, and they will probably get what they want without giving up anything. So you could look at my thought experiment as a chance for you to get something out of the concession which seems to be coming.

  8. Jody Harris says:

    Historically, tyranny always follows weapons confiscation…. Then, there will be no one to oppose the murder of the weak.

  9. Woody Bailey says:

    Partial birth abortion and assault rifles. Exactly what I have thought numerous time over the past few years. Neither one are necessary but both sides feel that if they give up any ground then the opponent will ask for more restrictions.

  10. Skeeter Ebersole says:

    It is coming whether you want it or not, the tyranny that is, whether the guns are touched or not. Perhaps it won’t be in the form of a dictatorship, perhaps the tyranny of the majority, who aren’t very warm and friendly at present toward Christians or their values. Anything begotten from the minds of men, no matter how noble, true and right the first generation may have been, goes down hill over time. Renewal comes from God, but often after the aloted years of exile have been completed.

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