When the Seattle Times’ decidedly anti-gun editorial board told its readers that it supported a proposed ban on so-called “assault weapons,” even after admitting that they are “used in a small fraction of America’s gun homicides,” angry readers flooded the newspaper’s on-line comments section to fight back.
Sixty hours after the editorial was published online, readers had posted a whopping 1,115 comments, largely negative and several that were running debates between some of those readers.
The editorial came on the heels of the newspaper’s report about Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s proposed ban. That story garnered just over 1,000 comments and the majority of those remarks appeared negative.
Roughly simultaneous with the negative reactions in the Times, a KOMO online survey first reported here a few days ago had actually become worse for gun prohibitionists. Monday morning the admittedly unscientific survey was running 82-18 against the proposed ban.
The newspaper’s editorial put the lie to a favorite claim by gun prohibitionists, including President Barack Obama and his would-be successor, the ailing Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her widely-reported stumble Sunday at the 9/11 memorial, reportedly a result of pneumonia, reinforced questions about her health, but should not distract from the fact that she has made gun control a centerpiece of her campaign.
What the editorial said, without specifically saying it, is that anti-gunners really do want to take guns…by default. Here’s how the editorial couched it:
“Ferguson and his legislative partners say his proposal would grandfather existing assault weapons, as other states have done, while limiting owners’ ability to resell the weapons.”
If a gun owner can’t sell his firearms, what options remain open for their disposal, especially if the gun owner passes?
The Seattle Times cited information from two highly questionable sources, Everytown for Gun Safety and (Washington) Ceasefire. The editorial board might easily have reached out to either the Second Amendment Foundation or Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms – both headquartered in nearby Bellevue – for a different perspective.
While the newspaper admits that the rifles it wants banned are “America’s favorite weapons,” it seems oblivious to one of the reasons why these guns are so popular. Americans are a defiant lot, so when they’re told they shouldn’t have something, they rush right out to get whatever that is.
Millions of these semi-auto modern sporting rifles (MSRs) are in private hands today. In 2014, they were used in less than 250 homicides out of more than 11,000 criminal slayings, not all of which involved firearms.
What does that say that the Times seems determine to ignore? The overwhelming majority of gun owners do not commit crimes with their legally-owned MSRs. They pose no threat to the public.
So, what happened in the wake of the Times’ editorial? Hordes of people disagreed with the newspaper’s position, and it is a safe bet that at least some of them headed to a gun store or gun show to buy one of these guns
How ironic it is that the newspaper’s editorial board wants so badly to ban a firearm, yet they just provided the impetus for thousands of people to buy one.