December 5, 2015 Last Updated 8:23 am

New York Times publishes front page editorial on ‘gun epidemic’

The Times gives its passionate editorial, the first to appear on the front page of the paper since 1920, a special place in its mobile news app, though not in its tablet edition

For the first time since 1920, The New York Times has published an editorial on its front page: End the Gun Epidemic in America.

NYT-front-600“It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency,” the editorial states. “These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection.”

In a note to readers, NYT Publisher Arthur Sulzberger explained the motivation behind the editorial:

It has been many decades since The Times ran an editorial on Page One. We do so today 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. Even in this digital age, the front page remains an incredibly strong and powerful way to surface issues that demand attention. And, what issue is more important than our nation’s failure to protect its citizens?

The last time the NYT used its front page to run an editorial was when the Republicans nominated Warren G. Harding for President in 1920. He went on to win that election despite the editorial (though he died in office in 1923).

The editorial was a strong statement for new gun control measures:

It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.

Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. 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.

The editorial placement applied to the print newspaper and the mobile news app. Online, the editorial appeared in its usual upper right hand corner of the home page. In the tablet edition, the editorial was given no special placement at all and had to be found inside the Opinion section. There was, oddly, a story on the front page editorial by Ravi Somaiya that appeared on the front page of the tablet edition, probably confusing some readers who would have scoured the front page of the digital edition looking for the editorial, never to find it.

The editorial did get placed up top in the paper’s mobile news app, however.

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