NBC Sports’ Bob Costas has been on a press junket this week attempting to clarify his halftime lecture on guns Sunday. Appearing on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” on Wednesday, Costas said “Americans have a right to bear arms” but also called for stricter controls on the sale of guns.
“Obviously Americans have a right to bear arms,” Costas told host Bill O’Reilly. “I didn’t call for a specific prohibition on guns.”
Costas reiterated that he was talking about the “gun culture” in America, not specifically gun control, when he quoted from sports writer Jason Whitlock’s column. O’Reilly warned Costas that he opened himself up to criticism when he aligned himself with someone as extreme as Whitlock, who recently said the NRA is the new KKK. Costas said he was unaware of Whitlock’s assessment of the NRA and he disagrees with it.
O’Reilly explained that gun control is an “emotional issue” in America because the Founding Fathers gave Americans the right to bear arms for two reasons: In case the government takes a turn towards tyranny and for self-protection.
When asked to clarify his exact position on gun control, Costas said “there should be more comprehensive and effective controls on the sale of guns.” He lamented the fact that “roughly 40 percent of guns purchased in this country do not require a background check.”
Costas also clashed with O’Reilly regarding whether Americans should carry a concealed handgun to defend themselves in dangerous situations. The example used was the shooting in Aurora, Colo., where shooter James Holmes opened fire in a crowded theater.
While O’Reilly said he would rather have a chance to defend himself and have a gun on his person, Costas said a mass shooting like that is very unlikely and there are too many instances that having a gun could result in tragedy. The Fox News host called it an “honest gentleman’s disagreement.”
Watch the full Fox News below: