A week after the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting that left three dead and days after the San Bernardino, California, shooting that claimed 14, the New York Times ran ran a front-page editorial Saturday decrying gun violence -- the first time it has put an editorial on the front page in more than 90 years. The piece was accompanied by a story noting the rarity of gunshot deaths in other countries compared with the U.S., where gun deaths are as common as fatal car accidents.
In a story published Friday, the Times pointed out that gun deaths in other countries are about as rare as deaths from falling off a ladder, being hit by a car on a bicycle or electrocution in the U.S. In Japan, for example, the likelihood of being killed with a gun is as likely as being killed by lightning in the United States, the Times reported.
The Times reported about 31 people per million U.S. residents die of gun homicides -- the same rate as those who die in car accidents. In comparison, two of every million people in Germany die in gun homicides, the Times reported.
The Times editorial urged lawmakers to insist on tightening gun regulations across the United States. The Times said it is a disgrace that Americans can purchase guns that are made specifically to kill people fast and efficiently, and that the anger many in the U.S. feel should be directed at lawmakers who are supposed to keep Americans safe but put too much emphasis on political power and money.
“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 Times editorial board wrote. “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.”
In a statement to Politico as to why the Times ran the editorial on Page One, Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said even in the age of digital media, the front page of a newspaper still has a way to grab peoples’ attention. “And what issue is more important than our nation’s failure to protect its citizens?" Sulzberger said in the statement.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) December 5, 2015
In his weekly radio address, U.S. President Barack Obama said the fact that the two shooters in the San Bernardino incident had military-style assault weapons is another reminder that it is too easy in the country for dangerous people to get guns.
“Right now, people on the no-fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane,” Obama said.