Actor Tom Arnold. Credit: Getty Images for CMT
During ABC's "The View" on Friday, actor Tom Arnold debated Fox News host Bill O'Reilly over President Barack Obama's proposed gun control legislation. While O'Reilly argued gun laws should be a state issue, Arnold supported the president's push for new federal laws, including a ban on semi-automatic rifles and universal background checks.
In supporting Obama's gun control plans, Arnold complained about going hunting and seeing a "guy" hunting with an "automatic weapon."
"I think the guy is a moron," he added.
The only problem? The "assault rifles" Obama wants to ban are nothing more than semi-automatic firearms. In other words, just like with a semi-automatic pistol, a semi-automatic rifle can only fire as fast as a person can pull the trigger. One example would be the frequently mentioned civilian-available AR-15. These rifles do, however, offer the option of higher capacity magazines.
Automatic weapons, like the M-16 used by the military, have been very strictly regulated in the United States and are extremely difficult to acquire by civilians. In that sense, Arnold is right. Anyone who goes hunting with a military-style machine gun -- that they almost certainly acquired illegally -- is indeed a "moron."
According to federal law, any person who knowingly possesses or manufactures any machine gun, fully automatic firearm or any part designed or intended exclusively to use in such weapon is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It's been that way since the 1980s.
“I’m from a rural area. I am a sportsman. I am a gun owner and you don’t need some hot firepower like that – like that kind of firepower," Arnold said on "The View" Friday, seemingly referring to semi-automatic rifles or "assault weapons."
Many responsible gun owners would argue that part of being a "responsible" gun owner is knowing what the law says about firearms. Not only so you are knowledgeable, but also so you never violate any of the current laws on the books.
And while Arnold says the U.S. needs additional "rules and regulations" for guns, perhaps he should learn about the ones we already have. Now, there is always the possibility that Arnold misspoke, and should that be the case this story will be updated. However, given the fact that the panel was specifically discussing Obama's gun control proposals, which make no mention of "automatic weapons," that seems like a stretch.
Watch Arnold's appearance on "The View" below via ABC/Mediaite: