Something is definitely going on over at Fox News — where two hosts have come out in favor of gun control laws.
Gretchen Carlson surprised viewers Tuesday afternoon by calling on lawmakers to reinstate a ban on weapons like the AR-15 that a gunman used to murder 49 people and wound 53 more at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Later that evening, Bill O’Reilly cast some blame on conservatives for the domestic terror attack and hate crime, which he said might have been prevented or lessened if the killer hadn’t been able to buy the weapons he used.
“There is too much gun crime in the USA, and high powered weaponry is too easy to get,” O’Reilly said. “That’s the fact. So let’s deal with it. We all have the right to bear arms, but we don’t have the right to buy and maintain mortars — even if you feel threatened by gangsters or a New World Order. No bazookas, no Sherman tanks, no hand grenades. That’s because the Second Amendment clearly states the government has a right to regulate militias, made up of individuals. They have that right in the name of public safety.”
O’Reilly, who told Stephen Colbert the night before that guns were an integral part of American history and identity, urged the U.S. Congress to debate which weapons should be available for public sale and then let states decide which weapons may be carried in public.
“New laws are definitely needed in the age of terrorism and mass murder,” O’Reilly said. “The FBI and other federal agencies need the power to stop suspected terrorists or other evil doers from buying weapons.”
The Fox News host argued that any new laws restricting gun sales or ownership should be precisely written, and he explained what type of new gun control laws he would like to see enacted.
“Gun dealers all across America should be required to report the sale of certain kinds of guns — heavy weapons — directly to the FBI,” O’Reilly said. “Not handguns, not talking about that, but other weapons that would be defined by Congress. That is a sane approach, and would make it a lot tougher for the Omar Mateens of the world to get the weaponry to kill, although as ‘Talking Points’ has stated many, many times, no society will ever stop all gun crimes, especially in a country which has hundreds of millions of guns already in circulation.”
O’Reilly blamed President Barack Obama and others on the left for the Orlando massacre, as well, saying they had refused to declare “war against radical Islamic organizations” and for opposing the Patriot Act and stricter border security.
“In perhaps the greatest hypocrisy of all, instead of demanding strong punishment for criminals and terrorists who use guns, the left stands silent on that and so does Mr. Obama,” said O’Reilly, who told Colbert the previous night that gun crimes should carry mandatory minimum sentences.
But he said any efforts to fight Islamic State militants abroad must be combined with some gun control measures in the U.S. — although he cautioned against making those laws broad enough to ensnare responsible gun owners.
“At home we need tighter regulation of individual weapons of mass destruction, but we also need to stop demonizing good people who own guns for protection and want to keep their rights in place,” O’Reilly said. “I hope we are all clear.”
Recent polls show 58 percent of Americans support the reintroduction of the assault weapon ban signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton but which Congress allowed to expire in 2004.
O’Reilly’s colleague, Carlson, cited that poll in calling for a reintroduction of that federal law, which banned military-style weapons such as the AR-15 but still allowed Americans to own semiautomatic firearms — although some more deadly features, including bayonets and grenade launchers, were limited.
“I’m in favor of people being able to carry, (but) I think some of these mass shootings would have been less deadly if that were the case,” Carlson said. “I’m also with the majority today, taking a stand. Can’t we hold true the sanctity of the Second Amendment while still having common sense?”
Watch the entire segment posted online by Fox News: