The two mass shootings on Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 in the United States have spurred the conversation about gun control, and nearly everyone is talking about it. But while gun control has usually been a talking point for liberal politicians and outlets, it's starting to look like this issue is taking on some across-the-board appeal, and even getting support from some unlikely groups. Social media is sitting up and taking notice after right-leaning paper The New York Post laid out an unexpected stance on gun policy, and these tweets about The New York Post's "Ban Weapons Of War" cover are full of surprise. This debate isn't cooling down anytime soon.
On Sunday, Aug. 4, The New York Post published an opinion from the paper's Editorial Board that called for President Donald Trump to ban assault weapons in the United States. The cover reads: "President Trump, America is scared and we need bold action. It's time to ban weapons of war." Notably, there were apparently two versions of the cover, with an early version reading "ban assault weapons" before a final version changed the wording to "weapons of war," but keeping the phrase "assault weapons" elsewhere. In the op-ed, the Editorial Board addressed Trump directly and asked him to push for more change. A part of the editorial read,
President Trump, you are positioned to assuage that fear. On gun control, you are a pragmatic centrist, someone who knows there is a vast majority of Americans who are not to the extreme left or right on this issue. They just want the killings to stop.
The op-ed noted Trump's support of the Second Amendment but pointed out that there's still room for improvement. "The Second Amendment leaves ample room for regulating gun rights, just as every other constitutional right has its limits," the Editorial Board wrote.
While many people are speaking out against assault weapons and pushing for gun control, The New York Post's cover was a surprise to the nation. The publication is owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who is also the co-chairman of Fox Corporation, and a long-time friend of President Trump. The New York Post has also been noted for conservative bias, so the fact that the publication has taken a stance supporting gun reform, banning assault weapons, and calling out President Trump is a pretty big deal.
As soon as photos surfaced of the publication's cover, Twitter couldn't believe its collective eyes. Naturally, the commentary was endless.
Even though The New York Post's cover was a shock to many, this isn't the first time the publication has addressed a mass shooting. On Feb. 15, 2018, the publication posted an article following the 2018 Parkland, Florida shooting, which read: "Mr. President, please act. We need sensible gun control to help stop the slaughter." So, it looks like The New York Post isn't shy about calling the president out.
The New York Post's cover is a response to the Aug. 3 shooting in Dayton, Ohio, and Aug. 4 shooting in El Paso, Texas. Between the two shootings, at least 40 people were killed. President Trump responded to these shootings on Aug. 4 by ordering American flags to be lowered at half-staff at all federal government buildings in honor of the victims and survivors. The president also posted a message on Twitter the same day to residents in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. "God bless the people of El Paso, Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio," Trump wrote.
The definition of "assault weapon" is controversial in the debate over gun control, with advocates for and against stronger gun laws having differing interpretations of what constitutes an assault weapon. However, semi-automatic guns that could be considered assault weapons have been used in multiple mass shootings in the United States, including civilian-style AR-15 guns.
No matter where you stand on the issue, it looks like The New York Post has made its opinion very clear. Twitter is definitely enjoying it.