Can We Be Non-Partisan About Guns?

              Last week I had a brief exchange with a reporter from The Trace, and I happened to notice a statement on the group’s website that raised my eyebrows an inch or two. The statement said that The Trace is an ‘independent, non-partisan, nonprofit newsroom dedicated to shining a light on America’s gun violence crisis.’ To be sure, the online journal must follow certain rules in order to hold, which it does, a tax-exempt status and operate on the basis of donations received from here and there. Their editorial independence is explained in an editorial which to my untutored eyes, appears to cover this issue as well.

              My problem is the reference to the word ‘non-partisan,’ which seems to crop up in many of the descriptions that organizations connected to Gun-control Nation use to explain their work. Now I always thought that the term had something to do with politics and basically means that the work of a particular individual or organization wasn’t being conducted for the purpose of promoting a particular political party, or a particular political position, or anything having to do with a specific political activity at all. Which is all fine and well except for one thing.

              How can anyone or any organization doing anything related to guns and gun violence claim to be working in a ‘non-partisan’ way?  Such a statement, with all due respect to the very good writing and research that often appears in The Trace, simply has no relationship to reality at all. In fact, I can’t think of a single issue which has become in every respect more partisan than gun violence over the last several years. And if the editors of The Trace actually believe that they are presenting ‘non-partisan’ content to their readers, I simply must assume that these editors don’t read what is published in this online journal every day. Here’s an example of what can only be described as a ‘partisan’ report.

The headline reads: The Unchecked Influence of NRA Lobbyist Marion Hammer, and it’s a long story which appeared in The Trace in February of last year. The writing (by Mike Spies) is detailed, sources are identified and there are comments from both sides, including a quote from the Florida Congressman, Matt Gaetz, who gets the all-time award as the dumbest office-holder in the history of the Gunshine State.  But the subject of the story, Granny Hammer, refused to be interviewed, despite being described as bringing laws into existence “that have dramatically altered long-held American norms and legal principles,” including concealed-carry and stand your ground.

              Now let’s be honest, okay? Would The Trace have devoted several thousand words to a story about this old lady if what she was doing aligned with the journal’s mission to ‘shine a light on America’s gun violence crisis?’ The truth is that by even using the words ‘gun violence,’ The Trace is clearly demonstrating that it takes a very partisan position on the issue of guns. Don’t believe me? Listen to all those stupid videos on the NRA-ILA website and see if any of the talking heads promoting gun ‘rights’ use the expression ‘gun violence’ even once.

              Let me make it very clear that I am not in any way criticizing The Trace for what they say or what they don’t say.  They have a job to do and they do it well. And even though on occasion I publish correctives to what I consider to be their reportage which needs a more thorough look, I have never and will never raise the slightest concern about the basic value and legitimacy of their work. In fact, I think that after I post this column I’ll send them a hundred bucks.

              I just have a basic problem with my Gun-control Nation friends who bend over backwards to  appear even-handed to the other side. Gun violence is a partisan issue. Gun violence needs to be addressed in partisan terms. Shooting human beings is not the stuff of compromise, okay? It must come to an end.

P.S. I’m going to send this column to The Trace and if they choose to respond I’ll gladly print what they say.

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