NY Times Runs First Front-Page Editorial Since 1920 to Demand Gun Control

New York Times Runs First Front-Page Editorial Since 1920 to Demand Gun Control

New York Times Runs First Front-Page Editorial Since 1920 to Demand Gun Control

The Slatest
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Dec. 5 2015 8:53 AM

New York Times Runs First Front-Page Editorial Since 1920 to Demand Gun Control

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Screenshot/New York Times

The New York Times has published an editorial on its front page for the first time since 1920, giving up 33 percent of its above-the-fold space to an editorial that calls for increasing gun control in the United States following the mass shooting in California this week. “End the Gun Epidemic in America” is the headline of the piece that harshly criticizes politicians and calls for certain kinds of weapons to be banned for private use.

The last time the paper made such prominent use of front-page real estate for an editorial was 1920, when it criticized the Republican Party for nominating Warren G. Harding for president. (He ended up winning.)

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The publisher of the Times, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., released a statement on the editorial:

It has been many decades since The Times ran an editorial on Page One. We do so today 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. And, what issue is more important than our nation’s failure to protect its citizens?

The paper calls on Americans to unite in anger against “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.” Whatever the exact wording of the Second Amendment, “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.”

It’s not enough to simply talk about how to stop guns from spreading, the editorial continues, but rather “to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.” Certain weapons “must be outlawed for civilian ownership.”

The paper also complains that “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.”

That sentiment echoed a New York Daily News front page from earlier this week that also got lots of attention by criticizing politicians for offering prayers instead of solutions.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.