As far back as I can remember it’s always been time for gun control at The New York Times. Except for August 1, 1863 when the owner (and editor) used Gattling guns to defend the paper during the Draft Riots. Today’s pro-gun control editorial reminds President Obama of his vague promises on gun control during the last presidential debate. It trots out the usual half-truths (citing 30k gun deaths without pointing out the percentage of suicides), misdirections (trumpeting an uncredited poll that backs up their call to register all private gun sales) and flat out lies (“State laws allowing students to go armed to class in Colorado, freeing owners in Oklahoma to wear holstered weapons in public, and letting people ‘stand your ground’ in Florida and a score of other states have already damaged public safety immeasurably”). More ominously, the op ed runs Senator Feinstein’s renewed assault weapons ban pledge up the flagpole and salutes it . . .
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who was a principal in the 1994 enactment of a 10-year ban on civilian use of assault rifles, intends to propose its reinstatement. “Weapons of war do not belong on our streets, in our classrooms, in our schools or in our movie theaters,” she said after the Aurora killings. This bill affords President Obama an opportunity to follow through on his 2008 campaign promise to work to revive the ban.
“This bill” banning assault weapons (whatever those may be) and high-capacity magazines (whatever those may be) has yet to see the light of day. But it’s funny—in a horrible, cynical kind of way—that the same paper that consistently called American gun owners paranoid about attacks on their Second Amendment rights now touts the instrument of that attack.
Of course it’s not paranoia if it’s true. And the Times’ editorial adds credence to the gun rights community’s fears that an Obama unchained will be a gun grabber reborn. That’s not the same as saying that an Assault Weapons Ban is inevitable or even politically desirable. I reckon not. But this canary in the coal mine is coughing. Again. Still.
Meanwhile, the Times editorial reveals the key to the whole process: demonizing the NRA. The paper does a lousy job of it: “Mr. Obama talked about starting ‘a broader conversation’ about reducing gun violence. The best place to start is in Congress, which has been grossly negligent toward constituent safety for the past 20 years as it bows to the demands of the gun lobby.”
Hey, at least the paper’s calling for Congressional action, rather than an Executive Order. More to the point, a comment by Clyde Wynant underneath the post spells it out for readers who’ve heard it all before. Or not.
When these discussions arise, it is always important to remember that the NRA is not a group dedicated to sportsman or hunters, most of whom have no need for assault weapons or handguns, but rather it is an incredibly wealthy lobbying organization, which seeks only to allow its sponsors, the gun makers, to remain profitable. All their talk of the Second Amendment is a smoke screen. They care not about your “rights,” they care only about their money.
With millions of guns on the streets in America, it may be impossible to put the genie “back in the bottle,” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do.
And there you have it: an attempt to parse the NRA, and thus the Second Amendment, to death. The idea that the gun makers’ interests and Americans’ Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms are aligned doesn’t occur to Mr. Wynant (a Thin Man with a thin argument) or, by extension, the Times.
Equally, Wynant’s comment reveals his and, by extension, the paper’s desire to attempt to “put the genie back in the bottle” (i.e., remove all guns from private ownership). They would do well to remember that this “genie” granted Americans the freedoms that they enjoy. Well, if not them, us.