USA Today’s Weak-Kneed Push For Gun Control

posted on October 21, 2016

It’s just what you would expect from a newspaper whose editorial board just can’t help taking the wrong side on the issue of gun control. 

Despite widespread opposition by law enforcement and top state officials, USA Today last week chose to urge the newspaper’s handful of readers in Nevada and Maine to vote “yes” on anti-gun background check initiatives that would only affect the law-abiding, leaving armed criminals to commit whatever violent crimes they choose. 

The editorial was titled, “Vote 'yes' on gun safety measures: Our view,” with a subhead stating, “Do what weak-kneed members of Congress have refused to do.” And to say that the editorial is a prime example of why so few Americans trust the so-called “mainstream” media nowadays would be an understatement. 

In case you are unfamiliar with the ballot initiatives, Question 1 in Nevada and Question 3 in Maine both deal with greatly expanded background checks for transfer of firearms. Both are being heavily funded by out-of-state billionaires—mainly former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And both would do nothing to reduce violent crime—and that’s according to top law-enforcement officials in both states.“It merely places more restrictions on good people, will make it more difficult, and incur unnecessary costs for law-abiding citizens to manage their personal property,” [Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly] said. 

In Nevada, a majority of the state’s sheriffs have come out in opposition to the proposal. Sharon Wehrly, the sheriff in Nye County, told the Associated Press that Question 1 would make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment right to self-protection.

“It merely places more restrictions on good people, will make it more difficult, and incur unnecessary costs for law-abiding citizens to manage their personal property,” she said. 

Washoe County Sheriff Allen had similar concerns about what effects the initiative would have, if it were to pass. 

“The core principle is not to infringe our right to keep and bear arms,” Allen said at a recent sheriffs' meeting. “We need to focus on other issues like mental health, keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals, and not imposing more restrictions on law-abiding citizens.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval has also come out against the proposal. And in the most recent news from Nevada, the state attorney general is speaking out strongly against Question 1, adding his voice to the many law-enforcement officers and government officials who have already made their opinion known.

“Question 1 sounds good because we all support background checks, but Question 1 is a sloppy legal disaster,” Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt said in the latest Nevadans for Freedom ad. “It’s poorly written and could put honest Nevadans in jail.”

In the meantime, gun-banner Bloomberg and his anti-gun groups have pumped more than $13 million into trying to mislead Nevadans on what the measure would do and who would be affected.

Meanwhile in Maine, 12 of 16 sheriffs have spoken out on Question 1, stressing that it could make criminals of the law-abiding, while not affecting actual criminals in the least. In a thoughtful op-ed published in the Bangor Daily News, Franklin County, Maine, Sheriff Scott Nichols came out strongly against the ballot initiative.

“This is the never-ending mission of anti-gun groups: to slowly erode our Second Amendment rights to the point where, eventually, we will have to crawl to the government for permission to own a gun …” he wrote of Question 3, adding, “This initiative does nothing to restrict evil people from possessing firearms.”

Nichols continued: “These groups are trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. After all, Maine’s violent crime rate is one of the lowest in the country.” He then wrapped up the op-ed with a plea for Maine citizens to vote “no” on the initiative: “My friends, this is not what our forefathers had in mind when they drew up the Second Amendment,” he wrote.

The proposal is also vigorously opposed by the Maine Warden Service, whose members believe it will make criminals out of law-abiding hunters, and even by Gov. Paul LePage. 

How quoting experienced sheriffs, governors, attorneys general and others in the know constitutes “twisted logic” is beyond our comprehension.“The name of this proposal is misleading,” LePage said in a recent weekly message. “Universal background checks are not ‘universal’ because criminals will never follow this law. Criminals get guns by breaking existing laws. They steal them, buy them on the black market or use straw purchasers. Less than 1 percent of criminals get firearms from dealers at gun shows.”

To state any of the facts about the vast opposition to the ballot initiatives is, however, considered inappropriate—according to USA Today, anyway. 

“The NRA is fighting back with its well-known brew of twisted logic, big money and political clout,” the editorial crowed. 

How quoting experienced sheriffs, governors, attorneys general and others in the know constitutes “twisted logic” is beyond our comprehension. Especially when the editorial board went on to spout off some “twisted logic” of its own. 

“Expanded checks have proved their worth in California, one of the early states to adopt them,” the editorial stated. “Since 1990, the state's firearm mortality rate has been cut almost in half, according to a study done for the Brady Campaign.” 

That might be what the Brady Campaign—a virulently anti-gun group—wants everyone to think, and apparently USA Today is fine with just quoting Brady’s anti-gun “facts” as truth. 

In reality, violent crime rates have fallen dramatically throughout the nation since 1990, and it has had nothing to do with California’s background check law. The case could just as easily be made that the 1990s were the beginning of the move to pass Right-to-Carry laws throughout the nation, and the corresponding drop in crime had more to do with armed good guys than with background checks, which criminals simply scoff at. 

The idea that there are so-called “weak-kneed members of Congress,” as the USA Today editorial board squawked about in its subhead, is another popular anti-gun fallacy. Federal lawmakers are elected by constituents, who send them to Washington to protect their interests—not the least of which is our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. USA Today can call the people voting against anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment proposals “weak-kneed” all it wants, but in reality they are simply representatives of the people trying to protect their constituents’ freedoms as best they can. 

In the end, it seems the USA Today editorial board is more interested in siding with gun-banner Bloomberg and insulting politicians who don’t agree with them than actually recognizing and reporting the pitfalls Question 1 and Question 3 harbor for law-abiding gun owners. 

To learn more about each, go to and


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