The Washington Post has gone “gun nut” recently by partnering with the Volokh Conspiracy, a legal blog that via its brilliant contributors, fact-based research and critical analysis has been a stalwart defender of 2nd Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens.
From now on, VC content, which is not exclusive to Second Amendment issues but covers a wide variety of constitutional, cultural and legal topics, will appear on the Post’s website, under a joint WashPo/VC banner.
As one might imagine, the announcement, made last week, was met with praise from conservative-leaning publications and pundits who identify with the VC’s latent libertarian bent, while also being derided by those institutions and individuals on the left.
The right-wing American Spector, for example, applauded Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos, who made a cash purchase of WashPo for $250 million back in August 2013, for the VC addition because it exposes the newspaper’s readership to a variety of different voices, many of whom are experts, scholars and luminaries in their respective fields.
“I’m impressed by this decision,” wrote Reid Smith of The American Spectator.
“Perhaps it should stand to reason that a man who made a fortune offering people choices, should offer the same alternatives to his readership,” he continued. “What a novel concept in today’s news atmosphere.”
Meanwhile, ThinkProgress.org was quick to lament the merger because of the VC’s past coverage of climate change, which has erred on the side of skepticism as opposed to dogmatically accepting the notion that humans are creating a dangerously warm planet.
“It is alarming that the Volokh Conspiracy doesn’t seem to understand the basis for the overwhelming scientific judgment that we are warming and will keep doing so absent sharp cuts in GHG emissions,” wrote Joe Romim of ThinkProgress. “It is even more alarming that Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post would think such uninformed conspiracy mongering belongs at the Post.”
Putting aside cheers and jeers, the one thing Guns.com wanted to know is how does this move effect the VC’s stance on guns?
The short answer: the VC is still unashamedly pro-gun.
But just to be sure nothing’s changed, Guns.com reached out to Volokh, who is also the Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law, to confirm that the VC was still going to publish articles that support one’s right to keep and bear arms.
In corresponding with Guns.com, Volokh was adamant that he faces no internal pressure from Bezos or the editorial staff at WashPo to adhere to any specific agenda, political or otherwise. Volokh maintains “full editorial control.”
“Our goal is to convey our ideas and knowledge to the public, including especially those people who don’t (yet) agree with us,” he said in an email to Guns.com. “We hope that the arrangement with the Post will help us do that.”
Given that the VC is has gone mainstream, Guns.com asked the professor if the gun community should celebrate this development. He responded:
Well, let me ask you this: There are now at least two people (David Kopel and I) whose writings are carried by the Washington Post — a pretty prominent publication — and who are generally strongly supportive of gun rights and skeptical of gun restrictions. My sense is that there weren’t a lot of such writers at the Post, or at most other prominent newspapers, before this deal; now there are two more. If people think that’s good, then they should indeed “celebrate” it. (And what better way to celebrate than to subscribe to the @VolokhGuns Twitter feed?)
Speaking of Prof. David Kopel, Research Director of the Independence Institute, Guns.com reached out to him as well to get his take on things.
Kopel told Guns.com he was “very excited” by the partnership, explaining that it is a “chance to expand the VC’s audience significantly,” adding that “The Washington Post is a great foundation to reach many new readers, including readers who influence national policy.”
Lastly, Guns.com also spoke with another VC contributor, Fordham University law Prof. Nicholas Johnson, whose most recent post on WashPo/VC forum, “The what and why of Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms” is a must read.
Johnson was more reserved in his prediction because the partnership is still in its nascency, but said the “optimistic assessment is that WashPo is broadening its perspective and generating more opportunities for people who disagree with each other to engage each other constructively.”
So, there you have it. VC and WashPo teaming up in way that will help spread the gospel of responsible gun ownership to the masses. I’m excited about it, are you?