In a scathing editorial this morning, the New York Times editorial board excoriated the National Rifle Association (NRA) for banning all working weapons from its annual convention in Nashville this weekend:
Seventy-thousand people are expected to attend the National Rifle Association’s convention opening on Friday in Tennessee, and not one of them will be allowed to come armed with guns that can actually shoot. After all the N.R.A. propaganda about how “good guys with guns” are needed to be on guard across American life, from elementary schools to workplaces, the weekend’s gathering of disarmed conventioneers seems the ultimate in hypocrisy.
There’s only one problem: this claim is blatantly false. It is a complete lie. There is no ban, NRA-instituted or otherwise, on the carrying of working weapons at the NRA convention in Nashville this year.
Contrary to the claims of the New York Times editorial board, anyone who is licensed to carry in the state of Tennessee — including those with carry permits from states that have a reciprocity agreement with Tennessee — may carry working, loaded weapons at the convention in accordance with state and local laws. The removal of firing pins from display guns is a commonplace practice for most gun trade shows.
The NRA even explicitly states on its website that convention-goers may carry their weapons in accordance with state and local firearms laws:
During the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits, lawfully carried firearms will be permitted in the Music City Center with the proper license in accordance with Tennessee law. Bridgestone Arena prohibits the possession of firearms. When carrying your firearm, remember to follow all federal, state and local laws.
In the state of Tennessee, as in many states, owners or managers of private property have the discretion to ban weapons on their property. Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, which will host several musical acts during the NRA convention, has decided that it doesn’t want weapons on its property. The Music City Center, where the bulk of convention activities will take place, has instituted no such ban. The result? Convention attendees with valid concealed carry permits may carry their loaded weapons, firing pins (or strikers) and all, in accordance with state and local laws.
The Tennesseean, a local paper managed by the same company that publishes USA Today, published an article three days ago explicitly stating that properly permitted convention attendees were welcome to carry their weapons at the convention:
Around the center workers were beginning to put up the first traffic blockades before the three-day convention starts Friday. More than 70,000 people are expected to attend.
Some probably will bring their own guns to the conference. So where can they take them?
The NRA and Music City Center confirmed that gun owners with the proper carry permits can bring their guns into the center this weekend.
Music City Center spokeswoman Mary Brette Clippard said its policy is to follow state law and to allow the organizations holding events there to decide whether they wish for people to carry their guns inside. She said Tuesday that NRA has no problem with gun owners with the proper gun permits bringing their weapons inside.
Even if you know nothing about guns or gun laws, a criticism which appears to apply to every member of the New York Times editorial board, these facts were available to anyone with a brain and access to Google three days ago. And yet the NYT couldn’t bring itself to acknowledge these facts. Instead, the willfully ignorant fools who run the paper’s opinion section felt comfortable following the completely dishonest lead of Shannon Watts, a career public relations staffer who’s currently serving as Michael Bloomberg’s go-to hack on gun issues:
Rather than doing basic research to confirm actual facts before publishing them, the NYT editorial board decided to just copy and paste the uninformed lunatic ravings of a paid PR hack.
Unfortunately, this kind of behavior isn’t new to Andrew Rosenthal, the man who runs the editorial page for the New York Times. Rosenthal has a long history of deliberately misstating facts in order to make his enemies — people who aren’t hardcore liberals — look bad. Rosenthal was the individual who falsely reported in 1992 that President George H. W. Bush had never before seen an everyday supermarket scanner. Rosenthal’s lie was so blatant that even his fellow reporters thought it was a “cheap shot.”
Then there’s the deceptive headline Rosenthal’s team added to a Mitt Romney op-ed about Detroit’s financial troubles: “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Romney never said that or anything close to it, but properly reporting facts has never really been Rosenthal’s forte. He is not a reporter; he is a liberal activist with a soapbox and a megaphone.
Sadly, today’s faceplant by Rosenthal and the New York Times editorial board should really come as no surprise. They don’t care about facts. They don’t care about accuracy. And they certainly don’t care if their lies about guns and the NRA have no basis in reality. The New York Times has an agenda, and that agenda has nothing to do with reporting the truth.
UPDATE: The New York Times has issued a two-sentence correction to its editorial, but has thus far refused to retract the piece, which depended entirely on the factual misrepresentation. Even more amusing is the fact that the second sentence of its two-sentence correction itself needs to be corrected.
The Bridgestone Arena, a privately owned and managed entity that has chosen to prohibit firearms on its property, is not a “main convention venue.” Of the more than three dozen events listed on the NRA convention schedule, only one–a Saturday night concert featuring Alan Jackson and Jeff Foxworthy–is scheduled to take place at Bridgestone Arena.
In other words, more than 97 percent of all scheduled events will take place in a venue other than Bridgestone Arena.