The New York Times called out America’s gun control laws Sunday with a stark, minimalist front page that connected 15 mass shootings to legally obtained firearms.
On the front page of the NY Times Sunday Review, a simple sentence repeats 15 times on a black background: “Authorities said the gunman was able to obtain the weapon legally.” Beneath each sentence is the body count and location of a mass shooting that has taken place in the past decade.
America is still reeling from yet another mass shooting with 19 children and two adults dead in an elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas. The gunman legally bought two AR-style rifles from a federally licensed gun store the day after his 18th birthday. The following day, he bought 375 rounds of 5.56-caliber ammunition. In Texas, you must be at least 18 to buy a rifle and the state does not require a license to openly carry it in public.
Among the shootings that involved legally obtained guns are the Mandalay Bay massacre in Las Vegas in 2017; the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida; the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando that killed 49 in 2016; the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks, California in 2018; and the hate crimes in Atlanta that killed eight people — including six Asian women — in 2021.
The massacre in Uvalde has led to renewed demand for stricter gun control legislation, though similar pushes after other mass shootings over the past decade have stalled out in the face of Republican opposition.
The National Rifle Association (NRA), which faces bankruptcy and a fraud investigation by the New York state attorney general’s office, held its annual convention in Houston just days after the Uvalde shooting. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the convention to demand stricter gun restrictions, including former congressman Beto O’Rourke, who is running to be Texas Governor against Republican incumbent Greg Abbott.
While Abbot’s response to the shooting and his continued opposition to background checks have come under national scrutiny, it remains to be seen whether the outrage over Uvalde will lead to more support for O’Rourke, who trails by seven points in recent Texas polls.