The New York Times just published its first front-page editorial since 1920 -- and it's slamming gun violence in America

NY Times: End the Gun Epidemic
NY Times: End the Gun Epidemic

For the first time since 1920, The New York Times has published an op-ed on its front page.

The editorial titled, "The Gun Epidemic" takes aim at gun control in the US, a topic that has frequently become front-of-mind nationally, amid a sharp rise in mass shootings this year.

In the piece, The Times' editorial board writes: "It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency."

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The op-ed, set to be published Saturday, comes days after a husband and wife opened fire at a social services agency in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others.

Critics have often slammed US lawmakers for a number of failings surrounding the issue -- including the lack of consensus on how to limit access to certain types of weapons.

The article goes on to classify some firearms as "weapons of war, " and implicates the weapons industry for marketing guns "as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection."

NYT front page editorial
NYT front page editorial

Screenshot via The New York Times

The editorial board then launches into a strongly worded rebuke of US politicians, who offer thoughts and prayers for victims of gun violence, "and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing."

So far in 2015, there have been more than 350 mass shootings in the US -- more shootings than days in the year, so far.

Writers accuse lawmakers of "distracting us with arguments about the word terrorism," and says that mass shootings "are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism."

Politicians in the US have been taken to task about the lack of progress toward stricter gun laws. President Obama notably vented his frustration on the matter after the Umpqua Community College shooting in October this year, in which eight students and a teacher were killed.

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During a press conference hours after the shooting that day, Obama said "This is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together."

The Times concedes a point often declared by gun-control opponents — that tougher gun laws won't stop "determined killers" from acquiring weapons.

But, the newspaper then points to other countries, like Norway, France and England, that have taken steps toward limiting access to guns, and slams the US for largely failing to do the same.

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