editorial, New York Times, JULY 29, 2016
After two teenagers were shot dead and 17 people were wounded Monday in a Florida nightclub, the local police chief was quick to address a question that comes up these days whenever there’s a new gun rampage. “This was not a terrorist act,” he said. “You can put that out of your mind.”
The chief’s parsing of gun violence may have been intended to offer some small comfort to a nation that suffers 30,000 gun deaths every year. But it also seemed to respond to fears, stoked by the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, that foreign-bred terrorism is the singular threat — thereby deflecting public attention from the far larger problem of domestic gun violence made possible by easy access to lethal weapons.
Hillary Clinton, in contrast, has been surprising in using her nominating convention to feature gun safety — an issue many Democrats plainly rated as a political loser when they ducked it at the past three party conventions. Mrs. Clinton has forcefully pressed the issue before the voters from the beginning of her campaign last year. Her vice-presidential running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, has been an outspoken critic of the National Rifle Association ever since he served as governor at the time of the 2007 shooting massacre at Virginia Tech that took 32 lives and wounded 17 people.
The stark body count of Americans lays bare the truth of a fearsome gun problem that deserves a full-scale debate beyond Mr. Trump’s simplistic terrorism warnings….
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