A New Strategy?



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By Nicki Kenyon, September 16th 2014
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.

Those of you who read the New York Times may have felt a bit shocked on September 12 if you read “The Assault Weapon Myth” by Lois Beckett. In it, Ms. Beckett admitted something that may have made you feel like you have stepped into the Twilight Zone: “assault” weapons – those dangerous, murder weapons about which the gun grabbers have been hyperventilating – have been nothing but a Democrat ploy to politically define a category of guns and ban the scariest-looking of the lot .

I know... Believe me. The paper’s admission forced me to do a search of the site to make sure I was reading the correct newspaper.

And that isn’t all.

The author admits that so-called “assault” or “military style” weapons are not used in the majority of crimes in America, but merely in about two percent of shootings. She admits that the media has fabricated hysteria about these firearms with its focus on mass shootings and presented these weapons as the gun of choice for unsavory characters – anyone from drug dealers to sociopaths.

She refers to efforts on the part of mayors of both New Orleans and Philadelphia – both members of Bloomberg’s gun grab group Mayors Against Illegal Guns – to focus on unemployment, poverty, family and culture as causes of violence.

Ms. Beckett even draws a logical conclusion about a link between violence, poverty, and drugs! An unusual bout of honesty for the New York Times, and certainly unexpected.

So why the admission?

After years of shrieking about the evils of “assault” weapons, why would the New York Times all of a sudden publish news analysis that contradicts years of its own hysterical fear-mongering and opportunistic calls for bans after every mass shooting?

I believe the answer lies in the article itself.

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.


Handguns were used in more than 80 percent of murders each year, but gun control advocates had failed to interest enough of the public in a handgun ban. Handguns were the weapons most likely to kill you, but they were associated by the public with self-defense. (In 2008, the Supreme Court said there was a constitutional right to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense.)

The New York Times appears to be changing its strategy. Instead of pushing for an easily-proven ineffective ban on firearms that are very rarely used in crime, it appears the paper has a new target, so to speak: handguns.

It’s those evil handguns that are responsible for the majority of crimes committed with firearms. Note Ms. Beckett even uses the tried and true strategy of ascribing the actions of a human to a tool. “Military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of Americans murdered with guns. Little handguns do.”

Handguns are popular.

Handguns are common.

Even the Supreme Court has affirmed the constitutional right to keep a loaded handgun at home!

The public associates handguns with self-defense.

Note Ms. Beckett doesn’t acknowledge that handguns are used in thousands of instances of self-defense each year. She doesn’t admit to reams of research confirming that handguns are indeed effective self-defense tools.

She merely points out the fact that “the public” associates handguns with self-defense – not that self-defense cases actually happen nearly daily in America.

I know I’m not being paranoid when I assert that the New York Times hasn’t changed its mind on guns. Its editorial staff does not like them, and I have no doubt they will continue to push for an agenda that includes everything from “universal” background checks that will almost certainly make private gun sales a thing of the past to laws that will make it tougher – if not impossible – to purchase a handgun.

But it certainly appears that the paper is changing its strategy and setting its sights on the handgun – the common tool used most in murders in the United States and “most likely to kill you.”

In the Harry Potter literary series, the mantra of famous auror (evil wizard hunter) Alastor Moody is “constant vigilance.” It is advice I would give to the gun rights movement as it basks in the light of a momentary truth offered by an entity that is usually an adversary of freedom. Keep a watchful eye on the gun grabbers. The battle is far from over.

Nicki Kenyon has been an avid gun rights advocate since she returned to the United States from an overseas Army tour in Germany. She began writing about Second Amendment issues in 2001 when KeepAndBearArms.com published her first essay, "The Moment.". She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies from American Military University. Her area of expertise in those fields is European and Eurasian affairs. When not writing about gun rights or hanging out with her husband and son, she practices dry-firing her M1911 at the zombies of "The Walking Dead." Nicki Kenyon's Archive Page.

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