Front page editorial: New York Times Gun Control Editorial

Published: December 5, 2015

Front page editorial: New York Times Gun Control Editorial, The New York Times has used its first front-page editorial in nearly a century to call for greater gun regulation after the San Bernardino massacre.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr, the newspaper’s publisher, said it was running its first page-one editorial since 1920 on Saturday 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”.

The editorial, which comes after three people were fatally shot at a planned parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last week and 14 people were killed in the shooting on Wednesday at a social services centre in San Bernardino, California, states: “It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.

“These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: these spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.”

On Wednesday, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple, carried out a mass shooting in San Bernardino with legally purchased .223 calibre assault-style rifles. FBI officials have said they are investigating the shooting as an “act of terrorism”.

The couple also had semi-automatic pistols, and US officials said Malik is believed to have pledged allegiance to a leader of Islamic State.

“Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership,” the editorial continued. “It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.”

The debate over gun control has long been one of the most contentious political issues in the United States, with the right to gun ownership enshrined in the US constitution’s 2nd amendment.

Barack Obama has called for legislation to make it harder for criminals to get guns, noting that mass shootings do not happen as frequently in other advanced countries. Following the shooting in Colorado, the president said the US had “to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them”. But Republicans in Congress have mounted heavy opposition to gun control measures.

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