Bill O’Reilly – yes, THAT Bill O’Reilly – has come out in favor of stricter gun laws this week in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre. Under cover of viciously attacking liberals for arguing for greater gun control. Last night, O’Reilly argued forcefully there should be stricter reporting of sales of assault weapons. This, after he viciously smeared Bill Moyers and the left for “using” the tragedy to promote control.
Monday night (7/23/12), O’Reilly opened his Talking Points commentary by saying, “Predictably, far-left ideologues are using the mass murder in Colorado for their own political purposes. They want gun control imposed on the country. Uber-liberal Bill Moyers is the poster boy for that movement.”
O’Reilly played a clip of Moyers before sneering, “Moyers has no clue, no clue at all. He apparently believes that federal and state governments can actually control gun crimes. That’s so dumb it hurts… PBS very lucky to have you.”
Classy, Bill. Especially since you went on to say this:
Alright, here’s the deal. Anyone who sells a heavy weapon or ammo should be compelled to report the sale to the FBI. It’s a felony if you don’t. That’s what we should have in the U.S.A. And it just makes sense in this age of terrorism. Right now, some dealers do background checks but nobody reports the sale of heavy weapons, like AK-47’s, to the feds. That’s insane. Terrorists could just move in here, by bazookas and the FBI doesn’t know about it! …If you take a flight lesson, the feds get a heads up. But you can buy a machine gun and they don’t know. So Congress should pass two laws: First, the heavy weapon reporting. And second, if you commit a crime with a gun, like a robbery or anything else, it becomes a federal offense with a mandatory 10 year prison sentence upon conviction. That would dent the problem.
I hate to burst O'Reilly's balloon, but that sounds a lot like the kind of things that liberals are calling for - and getting attacked for. The Washington Post reported in 2011:
The Obama administration implemented its most aggressive and controversial gun measure to date Monday when it ordered dealers in four Southwestern states to report multiple sales of semiautomatic rifles to the federal firearms bureau.
The rule, which had been opposed by the National Rifle Association and many members of Congress, takes effect immediately and is meant to stem gunrunning to violent Mexican drug gangs.
It requires about 8,500 dealers operating in the border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to alert authorities when a person buys within five days two or more semiautomatic rifles greater than .22-caliber with detachable magazines.
Also, Florida already has mandatory sentencing laws for crimes committed with guns and has found problems with them.
But unlike O'Reilly, I won’t engage in name calling.
Last night, O’Reilly renewed his push for tougher gun laws – at the same time that he continued to attack liberals for “trying to use” the Colorado tragedy to promote gun control. Maybe he thought that gave him greater conservative cred to push his own initiative. If so, it didn’t work all that well with Rep. Jason Chaffetz. And if Chaffetz thought that because he was going on Fox, he’d be treated with kids gloves – that didn’t work out very well, either.
Something of an epic debate ensued.
I’ve read a number of gun owners posting on other sites who have, unfortunately, spent time spinning the NRA’s position even as they say there’s a need for sensible gun laws.
And, of course, there’s this right-wing nutcase view that we shouldn’t even be discussing gun laws after such tragedies (not just the Aurora shootings, but here in Alabama, there was a mass shooting in Tuscaloosa a couple of weeks ago; I’ve got a feeling it would’ve gotten far more national attention if the shootings had happened during a major Alabama football game). But that’s exactly the time. There’s been too much accomodation of the NRA so that the politicians wait and wait until tragedies have passed and the feelings have been smoothed over and, by that time, no one wants to talk about sensible gun laws.
(And, of course, if the shootings had been done by some Mexican-supported gangbanger in LA or El Paso or Phoenix, who wants to bet that Issa would be calling for heads and linking it with his Fast & Furious “investigations?”)