When the Seattle Times editorial board declared Monday that “gun laws work,” it struck a nerve with gun owners who have predictably called the editorial dishonest, and reinforced their view that newspapers are staffed with elitists who use the First Amendment to erode the Second.
The newspaper acknowledges up front that gun laws “will never stop every homicide,” but quickly insists, “but they clearly work.”
Except, according to hundreds of critics, they clearly don’t work, as can be seen by the body counts in Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and other locales. Over the weekend, two people were killed in separate shooting incidents in White Center, a community just south of Seattle. In one of those incidents, two teens – who could not legally carry handguns – shot each other. One died, the other went to the hospital.
Anti-gunners, including those on the Seattle Times editorial board, habitually toss in that caveat about how not all homicides can be prevented. Gun rights activists, such as those who attended September’s 32nd annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Dallas, call this disingenuous. They have repeatedly heard the argument that “if it saves just one life, it’s worthwhile.” Well, if having a gun saves just one life, what do newspaper editorial boards say about that?
Actually, editorial pages typically say nothing. To do so would not fit the gun control narrative, nor would it have any credibility with the Second Amendment community. Ergo, editorial writers develop writer’s block. That’s certainly not the case with gun owners, who have turned social media into a sounding board.
Responding to the Seattle editorial, radio personality Jason Rantz provided some statistical perspective that he suggests was carefully avoided by the newspaper. His piece at MyNorthwest.com has garnered more than 320 responses, and the newspaper editorial by Tuesday morning had received more than 600 reader comments.
Gun control is a lightning rod issue, and it can be politically toxic, even in liberal Seattle where gun owners are all too frequently, and arrogantly, dismissed as reactionary rednecks or ignorant bumpkins.
Over the weekend, John Lott, economist, author and founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center, wrote at Fox News that legally-armed private citizens have intervened in many situations involving would-be mass shooters. Where the Seattle Times would have so-called “assault weapons” and original capacity magazines banned, Lott suggests that the best way to prevent mass shootings is to arm up and fight back. Instead of banning guns, how about banning so-called “gun free zones” that disarm the wrong people and create a risk-free environment for terrorists and lunatics?
Historically, every time a newspaper editorializes in support of stricter gun control, Second Amendment advocates and activists respond en masse. Whether Seattle or San Francisco or San Antonio or some other newspaper where the editorial board tilts decidedly left on gun control they hear from hundreds of people who, by contrast, lean toward the Bill of Rights as a whole, and not just a buffet of choices that allow picking and choosing favorites, and discarding the rest.
Perhaps that’s the problem. Maybe editorial writers don’t see much beyond the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments, and in the Second they seem to consider it different from the rest; a regulated privilege rather than a delineated right.
And that’s why gun owners traditionally feel disenfranchised, and feel the same distrust of the press that the press apparently feels about gun owners.