Both sides have their litmus tests. Republicans, and even centrist Democrats, support the right to bear arms. They feel that guns are only the proximate cause of homicides, suicides and tragic mistakes. These outcomes can be addressed with training and regulation, while the root problems are sought elsewhere.
It is surprising that such open-mindedness does not extend to, say, abortion. Abortion is murder, says the right, while the left – with equal lack of imagination – decries handgun terror from Virginia Tech to Columbine. Each side feels that their rights are sacred, and the other’s are anathema. Especially poignant was the use of a constitutionally protected handgun to murder an abortion doctor – in church.
The only sensible position is the libertarian one, which says that all rights are granted unless they are demonstrably damaging to society. Gay rights, gun rights and abortion are all equal. The left-right divide is, as usual, an affront to logic.