New York Times runs first front page editorial since 1920: “The Gun Epidemic”

7004692-3x2-700x467Editor’s note: This front-page editorial in the New York Times, coupled with the one in the Sacramento Bee about Donald Trump, shows that newspapers can still surface issues that demand attention — and show real leadership. I hope our small local newspaper thinks more deeply about this — rather than publishing the pablum that often defines its own editorials. Kudos to the Times and Bee for their leadership. It is good for their businesses too, making them more relevant in the social media age. It generates buzz.

“The New York Times is running an editorial on its front page on Saturday, the first time the paper has done so since 1920, calling for greater regulation on guns in the aftermath of a spate of mass shooting,” the Times is reporting

“The editorial, headlined ‘The Gun Epidemic,’ describes it as ‘a moral outrage and a national disgrace that people can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill with brutal speed and efficiency.’ It suggests drastically reducing the number of firearms, and ‘eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.’

“’It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment,’” it reads. “’No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.”

“In a statement, the publisher of The Times, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said the paper was placing an editorial on Page 1 for the first time in many decades ‘to deliver a strong and visible statement of frustration and anguish about our country’s inability to come to terms with the scourge of guns.’

“’Even in this digital age, the front page remains an incredibly strong and powerful way to surface issues that demand attention,’ Mr. Sulzberger said. ‘And, what issue is more important than our nation’s failure to protect its citizens?’

“The editorial reflects the intensifying debate over gun laws that is taking place in the days following two recent mass shootings — one in Colorado Springs on Nov. 27, and another in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday in which 14 people were shot and killed.”

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

12 thoughts on “New York Times runs first front page editorial since 1920: “The Gun Epidemic””

  1. In 1991, Warren E. Burger, the conservative chief justice of the Supreme Court, was interviewed on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour about the meaning of the Second Amendment’s “right to keep and bear arms.” Burger answered that the Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud—I repeat the word ‘fraud’—on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.” In a speech in 1992, Burger declared that “the Second Amendment doesn’t guarantee the right to have firearms at all.” In his view, the purpose of the Second Amendment was “to ensure that the ‘state armies’—’the militia’—would be maintained for the defense of the state.”

      1. What topic isn’t Greg a self -professed expert?
        The smartest guy and biggest a-hole in every room he is in. Probably explains why he spends most of his time in empty rooms.

      2. This is a hoot! In reading a thread on Rebane’s blog, “fish” and Gregory think they are “civil.” I think Ben was being generous in his assessment. Ditto for “fish.”

      3. George, Gregory, and Fish are more passive aggressive than rude like the others.

        What I have learned over the years there is it is about winning not having a dialogue. That is why I predominately bring up issues about bigotry and suppression/ oppression at RR. They cannot help themselves and let their true colors fly and in doing so they lose their own game by showing everyone that they do not have libertarian beliefs but instead very selfish belief systems. Liberty and Freedom for themselves and to hell with everyone else.

  2. Less gun owners and more guns owned in the US has been a trend for awhile now. This tells me a headless cult is being formed. It is unfortunate for the millions of gun owners who don’t subscribe to the paranoid gun hording demographic because they will be put on the hot seat to take a side between two extremes.

  3. To refuse to pass a restriction on gun purchases for those on the no fly list is a stain on the common sense of America. I too have read the comments of the former Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court. Looks like the “New Yorker” will have the last word on the reputation of LaPierre.
    The memory of that cover will last a long time in our collective history.

  4. One cannot discount the Robert’s court decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which for the first time interpreted the “right to bear arms” portion of the 2nd amendment. The decision invalidated a Washington DC law which prohibited the possession of most handguns and required that firearms be stored either unloaded and disassembled or fitted with a trigger lock. The decision basically disconnected the right to bear arms from membership in a well regulated militia, something the NRA has been lobbying to get for over 30 years, and changed it to a right of individuals to bear arms for self defense within the confines of one’s home. According to legal experts, this interpretation now makes it far more difficult for legislatures, both state and federal, to pass gun control legislation. The Heller decision was then used in 2010 to strike down a similar law in Chicago in the McDonald v. Chicago case. As Justice Stephens pointed out in the minority opinion, the wording “right to bear arms” was a common term in the 18th century used to refer to military service.

  5. I think it will take nothing less than a couple of foreign terrorists doing massacres at a couple of USA public firing ranges to get the attention of those whose self image is so ammocentric* that they cannot see their way clearly to a world in which they still own guns, but the acquisition of new weapons, and vast quantities of ammunition is tightly regulated. You should have to turn in shell casings to get more, and title insurance should be required. You shoot someone, even accidentally, you let your guns get into the wrong hands due to lax storage procedures, and watch your rates go up. And, you then have to declare and insure all guns in your possession, not just new purchases.

    As a quick alternative to mass psychological testing (not enough psychs) I have suggested that affidavits from three individuals who believe you to be of sound mind, should be required. If they guess wrong about you, their affidavits would be published, they would no longer be allowed to affirm anyone, and they would lose 1/2 of their next tax refund. Also, selling or buying an affidavit would be a felony.

    I’m sure that if the Feds offered 100 $1,000,000 prizes for the best gun solutions, we would be well swamped with excellent ideas. The $100,000,000 cost of such a program is 33 cents per citizen, and would be far cheaper in the long run that what our current system is costing now, not to mention the reduction in grief.

    *ammocentric – often afflicts those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder, “I may not be much of a man, but I can kill you with my gun, if you try to take what I have, or hurt my loved ones. Or if I just get really mad and lose it, so don’t do anything to get me really mad, like tromp on my 2nd amendment rights, because deep down I know I am just as good as you, I just wasn’t as lucky, and in fact I may even be better than you…..”

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