Foes of abortion and foes of guns have a similar problem: The Supreme Court, which says government cannot ban either one outright. What to do? Increasingly, the two advocacy movements are resorting to a similar solution: targeted regulation.
Abortion opponents started the trend and have it almost down to a science. Instead of trying to restrict abortion itself, they seek to impose rules that either raise barriers to individuals, such as waiting periods and mandatory ultrasounds, or crack down on clinics.
It’s almost surreal – opponents of abortion and opponents of legal gun ownership almost universally come from opposite sides of the political spectrum, and yet they both are employing some of the same tactics to encroach on other people’s liberties.
What is perhaps the most frustrating thing about this – at least from the point of view of a rational libertarian who understands the realities of our two-party system – is the reliance on regulation as a tactic by people who otherwise support the party that, supposedly, stands for less intrusive government.
The Reason article linked here concludes:
Regulations are problematic enough when they are written for legitimate reasons, such as preventing fraud and ensuring clean drinking water. Perverting their purpose to undermine constitutional rights is a dark, dishonest, and sinister game—no matter who plays it.
Those last few words are key: No matter who plays it.