One can imagine that the New York Times editorial board had practically leaped with delight when they thought they’d found hypocrisy and irony in the NRA convention show. Their op-ed for today practically cackles with glee as they excoriate the premier gun-rights group for barring working weapons from their annual gathering. The problems with it start in the lead paragraph — indeed, in the very first sentence (via Instapundit):
Seventy-thousand people are expected to attend the National Rifle Association’s convention opening on Friday in Tennessee, and not one of them will be allowed to come armed with guns that can actually shoot. After all the N.R.A. propaganda about how “good guys with guns” are needed to be on guard across American life, from elementary schools to workplaces, the weekend’s gathering of disarmed conventioneers seems the ultimate in hypocrisy.
Wow! Sick burn, dudes. Except, er, that it’s not at all true, as the Tennessean explained … three days ago:
The National Rifle Association and the Music City Center have confirmed that gun owners with the proper carry permits can bring their guns with them into the center during the association’s convention, which will be held there this weekend.
A spokeswoman for the center said its policy is to follow state law and to allow the organizations holding events inside the facility to decide whether they wish for people to carry their guns inside.
Music City Center spokeswoman Mary Brette Clippard confirmed to The Tennessean on Tuesday afternoon that the NRA had no problem with gun owners with the proper gun permits bringing their weapons inside.
So the entire first paragraph was entirely ignorant of the NRA’s actual position and the reality of gun ownership. Well, that won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s read the New York Times on the issue of gun rights, or several other topics, for that matter. But hey, maybe the editorial board just got off to a bad start. Let’s pick up where they go next:
There will be plenty of weapons in evidence at the hundreds of display booths, but for convention security the firing pins must be removed. So far, there has been none of the familiar complaint about infringing supposedly sacrosanct Second Amendment rights — the gun lobby’s main argument in opposing tighter federal background checks on gun buyers after the 2012 gun massacre of schoolchildren in Connecticut. Anyone interested in buying the guns on display, many of them adapted from large-magazine battlefield weapons, will have to apply later at a federally licensed gun dealer where, sensibly enough, background checks are required.
This part, at least, appears to be factually true … but taken out of context, as Charles C. W. Cooke explains:
As I noted when the New York Daily News peddled this same falsehood earlier in the week, the only guns that will have their firing pins removed are those that are presented for examination within the convention’s attendant trade show. This is standard practice. Why? Well, because the trade show guns are not for sale; they are not there to be fired; and they cannot be removed from their display cases. They exist only to demonstrate to attendees what each company has on offer.
In fact, he’s explained it twice:
For a start, there’s no “this year” about it. At the NRA Convention, the display guns are always nonoperational, and they are never, ever for sale. Why? Well, a) because it’s a trade show, not a bazaar; b) because the rules governing interstate purchases are extremely complicated; and c) because there is simply no way that there would be enough guns available to satisfy the demand. This isn’t an aberration, it’s standard operating procedure. The author might as well ask why you can’t buy cars at the New York International Auto Show.
What’s the point of the criticism, anyway? That the NRA takes gun safety seriously? That it follows the law? Bob Owens is similarly mystified. Well, not exactly mystified, but non-plussed.
Next, the NYT editors complain that the convention is too partisan:
The feature of this convention, beyond what is being advertised as “nine acres of guns,” will be the parade of Republican presidential aspirants intent on impressing the N.R.A.’s membership, which is claimed to be more than 4.5 million. Virtually all the potential candidates have been invited to speak, from Jeb Bush to Donald Trump. (Democrats need not apply.)
When was the last cycle in which a Democratic presidential candidate courted the NRA? The organization itself tries very hard to remain non-partisan and focus only on gun-rights policies — and occasionally takes heat on that from conservatives, as Jim Geraghty explains today in the context of Rand Paul’s issues with the organization. The NRA would love to feature Democrats running for office who support gun rights and the NRA’s overall goals in protecting them. Just as soon as the NYT finds one, they should alert the NRA of his or her identity.
Finally, the NYT offers this advice:
Thoughtful voters will be interested to see if any of the potential candidates speaks against the grain of the convention.
That’s odd. Do they offer that advice when Democrats attend events staged by the abortion-on-demand-up-to-birth Emily’s List activist group? Hillary Clinton just appeared there, after all, in an event that looked pretty partisan at the time. Did the NYT encourage people to see whether anyone spoke out against the destruction of a million babies a year at the abortion mills that this group wants to protect, including late-term abortion clinics?
The Times’ editors owe their readers a retraction and an apology — or at least an update to acknowledge that they couldn’t get this story straight even with three days’ lead time. MSNBC at least did that much, albeit while still trying to defend themselves. If this is the quality of the New York Times’ editors, it doesn’t leave much confidence in the newspaper’s reporting.