New York Times: Gun epidemic in America is a ‘moral outrage and national disgrace’


For the first time since 1920, The New York Times published a front page editorial on Saturday. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since 1920 — the Great Depression, World War II, a half dozen more wars and armed conflicts, the civil rights movement, political assassinations, and even September 11, 2001 — but it took the unrelenting carnage of gun violence in America to merit a page one editorial. Gun Debate Yields Page One Editorial:

Screenshot from 2015-12-05 09:41:44The New York Times ran an editorial on its front page on Saturday, “The Gun Epidemic,”  the first time the paper has done so since 1920, calling for greater regulation on guns in the aftermath of a spate of mass shootings.

* * *

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.”

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.

* * *

The last time The Times ran an editorial on the front page was in June 1920, when it lamented the nomination of Warren G. Harding as the Republican presidential candidate.

Since newspapers in gun crazy Arizona are unlikely to republish The New York Times editorial, here it is. End the Gun Epidemic in America:

End the Gun Epidemic in America

​It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.


All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.

But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. 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.

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.

Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.

But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. 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.

It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.

Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. 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.

What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?


This editorial published on A1 in the Dec. 5 edition of The New York Times. It is the first time an editorial has appeared on the front page since 1920.

Previous articleMajor happenings of a hundred years ago
Next articleA solid November jobs report
AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. Oh dear me!! If the New York Times ran a front page editorial on the subject of gun control, we need to stop what we are doing and focus on that as a problem! It has to be at least as serious as the nomination of Warren G. Harding in 1920.

    Attempts at defining specifics weapons that are to be banned has been tried and failed. Banning specific specific types of ammunition has also been tried and failed. California has stringent controls on gun sales and ownership. Governor Moonbeam tried to blame Arizona and Nevada for providing guns to his State, displaying utter ignorance of Federal Gun Laws which prohibit interstate sales. The guns of the San Bernardino shootings were obtained in California despite their very restrictive gun control laws. The New York Times editorial is simplistic and stupid; not surprising for a liberal newspaper out of New York.

    As I have often said here, “Ted Kennedys cars have killed more people than all of my guns combined”.

    • Spoke too soon, troll. The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Monday to clarify the types of guns that may be banned, but in the process it left intact an Illinois city’s law that denied anyone in the community the right to have one of the most popular weapons: assault weapons.

      “At issue in the new case, Friedman v. City of Highland Park, was the constitutionality of a 2013 ordinance. It prohibited the sale, purchase, or possession of semi-automatic guns, including those used with magazines with more than ten rounds of ammunition. It was agreed, during a challenge to the ordinance, that the ban includes the widely popular AR-15 rifle — the civilian equivalent of the military’s standard M-16. The challengers contended that these are not machine guns, because a pull of the trigger only fires one shot, not repeated firings.

      Because the brief order denying review of the ordinance contained no explanation, there is no way to know why most of the Justices chose not to grant review.”

      Give your guns a hug today to comfort them.

      • One of your problems, AZbm, is you tend to place too much focus on the here and now. You are correct when you say the Justices gave no reason for not hearing the case. It could be as simple as they only review a certain number of cases and they felt this was so localized and specific that it wasn’t worth their time. Or it could be they didn’t want to touch it so soon after the San Bernardino shootings. Or it could be they plan on banning guns in the future and this is their first step. Who knows?

        What I do know is this is a issue that can make or break a politician. For many, many people (like me) this issue can make them a single issue voter. Anyway, don’t get too comfortable that the die is cast on the future of assault weapons (or any other guns, for that matter). Congress tried banning them before and it failed miserably. There are just too many ardent gun owners for the issue to quietly disappear into the night…

        • Your speculation about the court’s opinion is incorrect. The opinion went to the printers before San Bernardino occurred, and was released in regular order on the Court’s calendar on Monday. San Bernardino had nothing to do with it.

          • I agree I missed that point, but my overall point remains…this is not a major battle on the subject of assault weapons. That is still ro be decided once again at some point in the future.

  2. if the american people are so pro gun control why are democratic gun control candidates losing? virgina last month and recall of colorado legislative gun controllers. instead of playing games with polling simply ask do you support the second amendment or do you want strict gun control or doing away with the 2 amendment. the pollsters don’t dare ask that because they know what the answer will be! I think mrs clinton will win anyway but if not this will be the reason. hopefully she will waffle and squish when she gets the nomination. you can’t con people into giving up the second amendment rights. they are smart enough back ground checks is only the first step and if you get that you will then move on to bullet and assault weapons ban. only ny mass. con. and california politicians can get away with gun control try it other places you lose.

    • You are correct about this subject, Captain, but Democrats are drawn to it like moths are drawn to a flame…and with the same results. They can’t help themselves.

  3. What is happening in our country is a gun epidemic, and like any other illness, it is spreading. We are coming up to the 5th anniversary of the Jan. 8, 2011 Tucson Tragedy mass shooting where 6 innocent civilians were killed by a lone gunman, 13 others wounded outside of a Safeway store. That famous shooting has been described as an assassination attempt against then-CD 8 Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, yet not much has changed since then.

Comments are closed.