NY Times, in rare front-page editorial, urges gun control
December 05 2015 11:51 PM
A man pays his respects at a memorial near the Inland Regional Center yesterday in San Bernardino, C
A man pays his respects at a memorial near the Inland Regional Center yesterday in San Bernardino, California. Police continue to investigate a mass s

AFP/New York

The New York Times has published an editorial on its front page for the first time since 1920, using the rare, prominent placement to urge gun control following the latest mass shooting in the US.
Entitled “End the Gun Epidemic in America,” it lashes out at politicians and calls for certain types of weapons and ammunition to be outlawed for private citizens.
“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,” reads the editorial.
Its publication online late Friday and on page A1 of yesterday’s print copy of the prestigious newspaper, comes just days after a couple went on a gun rampage in California, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others.
The carnage at a year-end office party represents the deadliest mass shooting in the US since a 2012 Connecticut school massacre and is being investigated as an “act of terrorism,” according to the FBI.
The Times said it was “right and proper” for authorities to probe whether the killers were connected to international terrorism.
But, it added, “the attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.”
Guns are a potent political symbol in the US, where the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution.
And the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby, reputed to have many members of Congress in its pocket, paints gun control propositions as attacks against that right.
The Times goes on to say that the US, in contrast to other countries affected by gun violence, was not even trying to remedy the situation.
“Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs,” it said.
“It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically - eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.”
In particular, it said, certain types of weapons, including the slightly-modified combat rifles used in the California attack, in addition to certain kinds of ammunition, “must be outlawed for civilian ownership.”
In a statement, the paper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., said the reason for running the editorial on the front page was to “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,” Sulzberger said.
“And, what issue is more important than our nation’s failure to protect its citizens?”
The Times said it published its last Page One editorial on June 13, 1920, critical of the nomination of Warren Harding as the Republican presidential candidate.

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