New York Times Publishes 1st Front-Page Editorial Since 1920; Demands End to ‘Gun Epidemic in America’

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Candles burn before dawn at a growing makeshift memorial at Waterman Avenue and Orange Show Road near the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 5, 2015, in San Bernardino. (Credit: Greg Vojtko/AFP/Getty Images)

The recent spate of mass shootings has moved The New York Times to a measure it has not taken since 1920: a front-page editorial.

In it, the news organization makes an impassioned call for firearms regulations in an editorial titled, “End the Gun Epidemic in America.” In the print version, which appears Saturday, the title reads simply, “The Gun Epidemic.”

The piece’s online subtitle summarizes its message: “It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.”

The editorial criticizes the gun debate in America that tenaciously parses the wording of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, and politicians who repeatedly utter condolences and prayers but do nothing to reduce the vast proliferation of guns.

The opinion particularly focuses on “slightly modified combat rifles,” saying they “must be outlawed for civilian ownership.”

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., The Times’ publisher, said the front page placement was meant “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.”

The last time The Times published a front page editorial was to criticize the nomination of Warren G. Harding as the Republican Party’s candidate for President in 1920. Harding won the election to become the 29th President of the United States.