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| Bob Costas Digs Himself in Deeper
on the O'Reilly Factor
December 6, 2012 By Erich Pratt GOA
Bob Costas appeared on the O’Reilly Factor Wednesday night in an effort to explain his ill-informed comments about guns that he made over the weekend.
Using one of Sunday’s football games as a platform to express his views on guns, Costas (who was quoting a sports writer) said that the Kansas City linebacker who killed himself and his girlfriend this past weekend would still be alive today “if Javon Belcher didn’t possess a gun.”
Click here to read GOA’s original response to Costas’ Sunday remarks.
Because Costas’ remarks have stoked a nation-wide controversy, O’Reilly invited Costas onto his show to clear away the “confusion.” Taking his cue, Costas led off the interview saying that he knows Americans have a right to bear arms and that he never intended to enter the political debate surrounding this issue.
He emphasized several times that he never used the words “gun control,” and that he is not looking to repeal the Second Amendment.
But rather than set the record straight, Costas only made things worse with several bone-headed or factually inaccurate statements. Rather than clear up the matter, Costas adopted the talking points of several anti-gun “Brady Bunch” organizations by saying Americans are worse off owning guns, that they don’t typically use them in self-defense, and that Americans need to do something about our dangerous “gun culture.”
Here are just some of most egregious examples (although one comes from Bill O’Reilly):
1. Myth: Guns do more harm than good.
“Even if one has the right to have the gun -- you got this many guns out there -- far more often, bad things happen (including unintentional things) than things where the presence of a gun diminishes or averts danger.” – Bob Costas to Bill O’Reilly
Not true. Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year -- or about 6,850 times a day. This means that each year, firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.(1)
Even anti-gun researchers have conceded that guns are used 1.5 million times annually for self-defense. According to the Clinton Justice Department, there were as many as 1.5 million cases of self-defense with a firearm every year. The National Institute of Justice published this figure in 1997 as part of “Guns in America” -- a study which was authored by noted anti-gun criminologists Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig.(2)
So where does the guns-are-more-likely-to-harm-you theory come from? Well, it first appeared in the 1980s with a “study” performed by Dr. Arthur Kellermann, who concluded that a gun in the home is supposedly more likely -- far more likely, he claimed -- to kill the owner than to be used in self-defense.
Interestingly, Kellermann refused to release the data behind his conclusions for years.(3) But subsequently, the nation discovered why Kellermann stonewalled for so long:
* All available data now indicates that the “home gun homicide victims [in Kellermann’s study] were killed using guns not kept in the victim’s home,” researcher Don Kates writes. In other words, the victims were NOT murdered with their own guns! They were killed “by intruders who brought their own guns to the victim’s household.”(4)
* In retrospect, Kates found, it was not the ownership of firearms that put these victims at high risk. Rather, it was the victim’s “high-risk life-styles [such as criminal associations] that caused them to own guns at higher rates than the members of the supposedly comparable control group.”(5)
Even using the conservative figures issued by the Clinton Justice Department, Americans are 50 times more likely to use a gun in self-defense than to be killed by a firearm.
The fact is, guns save far more lives … far more often than they take a life.
Your gracious assistance allows us to debunk common gun control myths and to continue educating the public on Second Amendment rights.
2. Myth: More gun control needed.
“I believe there should be more comprehensive and effective controls on the sale of guns.” – Bob Costas to Bill O’Reilly
Bob Costas says he never used the words “gun control” in discussing the Belcher murder-suicide. While technically true, he did admit to Bill O’Reilly that he favors greater gun restrictions: more background checks, mandatory training for those who purchase firearms, and bans on “military-style” firearms -- saying that only the military and police should have them.
“None of that impinges on someone’s Second Amendment rights or their right to protect their home and their family,” Costas said.
Well, if gun bans and background checks are consistent with Second Amendment rights -- never mind the words “shall not be infringed” -- then perhaps Mr. Costas won’t mind similar restrictions on his right to speak in front of a microphone?
After all, his comments have caused severe angst on the part of many Americans this week. And not only his comments, but one could make an argument that, in general, the media incites people to anger and violence on a semi-regular basis.
Therefore, if we were to curb (or ban) most or all of the media’s broadcasts, then one could argue that we would live in a far safer environment:
* Remember the environmentalist wacko who, in 2010, held several people hostage in the Discovery Communications building in Silver Spring Maryland? James J. Lee confessed he had an “awakening” after watching Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth -- an “awakening” which convinced him the planet would be better off without humans and which drove him to take hostages in order to protest the Discovery Channel’s programming.(6)
* Or what about the Los Angeles riots of 1992? Rioters began their circuit of death and destruction, only after the media reported the jury verdict which cleared the police officers who had beaten Rodney King. Fifty-three people were killed during the riots and thousands more were injured.
* Or what about Timothy McVeigh, who was driven to blow up the federal Murrah Building in Oklahoma City after watching the media’s coverage of tanks assaulting the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas?
In all of the above cases, the media played a significant role in stoking people’s anger. Thus, it could be argued with some cogency, that gagging the media would result in less violence and bloodshed.
Of course, this is not the kind of society we want to live in. But if we are going to use pragmatic arguments for restricting the Second Amendment, then don’t be surprised when that same standard gets used to infringe upon the freedoms protected by the First Amendment.
In truth, however, the problem is not that there are too many guns or too few restrictions on them. The fact is, we have more guns than ever in this country and crime rates are dropping -- as evidenced by the fact that during the first decade of this century, 40 million new guns were manufactured for sale inside the U.S., even while the murder rate dropped 14%.(7)
And this just underscores the undeniable truth that “Guns Save Lives.”
3. Myth: America needs to curb its “easy access to guns.”
“If we’re looking for perspective on this, we’re going to have [a serious discussion about] domestic violence, about the culture of the game itself, about the easy access to guns ... and in the future we will soon do that.” – Bob Costas to Bill O’Reilly
Costas drinks the “Brady Bunch” Kool-Aid here, arguing that the availability of firearms is one of the main causes of violence. But “easy access” to guns is NOT the problem. In fact, the places in this country where guns were restricted the most have been the places where citizens lived in the greatest danger.
Consider, for example, the nation’s capital in the United States. In 1976, Washington, DC made it virtually impossible for anyone to legally obtain a firearm. If a homeowner did get a gun to defend himself, and the police found out, then the gun owner could go to jail.
These restrictions discouraged homeowners from obtaining firearms and, not surprisingly, the city’s murder rate skyrocketed -- so much so, the city was frequently ranked as the nation’s “Murder Capital.”(8) This held true for several decades, until the Supreme Court struck down Washington’s gun ban in 2008.(9) That year, gun ownership once again became legal in the District, and residents began purchasing thousands of firearms.
Not surprisingly, gun control advocates predicted that the murder rate in the nation’s capital would spike as a result of legal guns entering the city. But what was the reality? Murders in the nation’s capital immediately dropped to a 45-year low.(10)
People are less safe when they enter a “gun free zone,” but have a better chance of protecting themselves when they can easily access a firearm and use it for protection.
Consider El Paso, Texas, which was ranked by CQ Press as America’s safest big city in 2010.(11) Residents there can carry concealed firearms (and live quite peacefully) despite being located across from Juarez City, Mexico -- a town with very stringent gun control laws and one of the highest murder rates in the world.
In Juarez, people are disarmed, they live in fear, and criminals still manage to get a hold of firearms. In El Paso, average citizens can carry firearms -- they have “easy access” to them -- and they live in peace.
The verdict? Easy access to guns keeps people much safer than the alternative.
Your gracious assistance allows us to debunk common gun control myths and to continue educating the public on Second Amendment rights.
4. Myth: Citizens can’t be trusted with guns, but police can.
“In that situation [in the Aurora theater] -- in the dark, in the confusion -- I think it’s highly more likely that there would be additional carnage. Bullets would be flying wildly all over the place.” -- Bob Costas to Bill O’Reilly
These are the talking points one frequently hears from the Brady Bunch. They love to portray law-abiding citizens as the ones who, not only can’t be trusted to defend themselves but, will accidentally harm others -- even when trying to do the right thing.
However, if we’re going to use the “bullets flying wildly” standard as a basis for denying gun ownership to private citizens, then you might as well start disarming the police. After all, it was the New York City police (not law-abiding citizens) who accidentally shot nine bystanders in August outside the Empire State Building.
And while that’s just one anecdotal case, readers of Newsweek learned that while “only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal, the ‘error rate’ for the police [is] more than five times as high.”(12)
The fact is, civilians do an amazing job of protecting themselves and others -- even in crowded surroundings. Take Jeanne Assam, who saved the lives of hundreds of worshippers in 2007, when she shot an armed thug in the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado -- a gigantic church which boasts a membership of thousands.
Matthew Murray, intent on killing as many innocent victims as he could, entered the building with a thousand rounds of ammunition and several firearms.
However, he was only able to shoot two sisters in the parking lot because, once he entered the building, he was met by a woman with a gun. Assam shot him repeatedly until he fell incapacitated. He then took his own life. No innocent bystanders were shot or killed inside the New Life Church.
5. Myth: Guns are only used to harm athletes, not protect them.
“I cannot think of a single instance, involving a professional athlete, whereby that athlete having a gun averted or diminished a dangerous situation. But I can give you a long list of tragedies that came about because guys were packing.” -- Bob Costas to Bill O’Reilly
The DC Examiner exposed the outright lie -- or lazy scholarship -- that is central to Costas’ statement here. For example, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corry Fuller (in 2004) and Houston Astros outfielder Luke Scott (in 2005) are just two notable athletes who have used guns in self-defense in recent years.(13)
But beyond Costas’ ignorance (or deception), this argument is just foolish. One could make an argument for banning all kinds of items under this reasoning. Just try inserting the word “barbell” everywhere Costas mentions guns.
Truly, no one’s life has ever been saved because of a barbell or dumbbell, and yet, in recent months, there have been some gruesome murders committed with these blunt objects:
* A Florida woman was on trial this year for the torture/murder of her husband which included beating him barbells and slicing his eyes with a utility knife.(14)
* A Virginia man is also facing charges for the strangulation/beating murder of a woman which involved a 15-pound dumbbell.(15)
Heck, if Costas really wants to press the issue, there are more student deaths related to high school football than to guns.(16) Has football ever saved anyone’s life? No.
So how can Costas support a game that claims more student lives than guns?
Your gracious assistance allows us to debunk common gun control myths and to continue educating the public on Second Amendment rights.
6. Myth: Americans hold to a dangerous Wild West, Dirty Harry gun culture.
“[Americans] may feel that it’s part of a romanticized culture. There’s an aspect of this -- a kind of Wild West, cowboy, Dirty Harry aspect. There’s also an aspect that’s influenced by some of what we see in the inner cities. There’s some of what may be glamorized in Gangsa Rap videos. Whatever it may be, it plays itself out in different ways [and] in different demographics.” -- Bob Costas to Bill O’Reilly
Costas says he was shocked to hear that, when Tony Dungy was coaching the Indianapolis Colts, there were 60 out of 80 players in training camp who admitted to owning guns. Costas conceded, somewhat dismissively, that they may feel they need these guns for protection.
But more than that, he says, it’s the dangerous gun culture which is fueling this supposed fascination with guns.
Of course, inherent in his statement is the assumption that guns are inherently bad. Notice that Costas is not concerned about the “football culture” which results in more deaths than guns at the high school level.(17) Nor is he concerned about the “Playboy culture” which, arguably, has resulted in higher levels of rape and incest.(18)
But no, it’s just the “gun culture” he’s concerned about -- never mind that this freedom is enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
So how about if we turn the tables: What if many Americans are concerned about Bob Costas’ views on gun control? Would that justify limiting his right to free speech?
It may sound like a preposterous question, but there are Congressmen who favor LIMITING the free speech rights of law-abiding Americans. Just consider the DISCLOSE Act and “Hush Rush” bills that Congress has put forward in years past.(19)(20)
Or, take Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), who told an audience recently that millionaires are “stealing your government” because they have the money to get people elected. (Never mind there are campaign finance laws which limit the amount of money they can give to candidates.)
So what’s the solution, according to the congressman? “We need a constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to control the so-called free speech rights” of these rich folks, says Johnson.(21)
Really? Our First Amendment rights are now “so-called” freedoms?
You see, once you let the “Congress-needs-to-change-the-culture” genie out of the bottle, then all the Bill of Rights will be up for debate.
7. Myth: The Founding Fathers gave us our Second Amendment right to bear arms
“Gun control in America is an emotional issue because it is clear that the Founding Fathers gave the right to bear arms for two reasons.” -- Bill O’Reilly to Bob Costas
In case, you missed it -- notice the flip-flop in the order of the names. This myth came from Bill O’Reilly’s lips.
Yes, O’Reilly had some good things to say on Wednesday night. But he also staked out a position in favor of some gun control, while totally ignoring the “shall not be infringed” language of the Second Amendment.
So just to be clear. The Founders did NOT give us our rights, nor did they believe they were granting us rights.
The Declaration of Independence states that “All men are created equal [and] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Our rights come from God himself, and this is the reason our rights cannot -- and should not -- be infringed in any way, shape or form (unless someone has committed a violent crime and, thus, forfeited his rights).
Now, O’Reilly did give two good reasons for the right to keep and bear arms: Defense against tyranny and self-defense against both natural and human predators.
But the reason that he supports gun control stems from the fact that he does not hold a principled view of rights. If O’Reilly believed our rights came from God, then he could not consistently hold the gun control position that he advocates. Same for Bob Costas.
In fact, Mr. Costas should dust off his copy of the Declaration next time he tries to wax eloquent on a civil rights issue during a football game. Or better yet, maybe he should just stick to sportscasting.
Original article at http://gunowners.org/a12062012.htm
Erich Pratt is the Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America, a grassroots lobbying organization with 300,000 members.
| Gun Owners of
America - Year in Review: 2010
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
-- Reprinted here by permission 12/13/10
"I support Gun Owners of America, which is a consistent and uncompromising defender of the Second Amendment…." -- Erick Erickson of RedState.com, June 14, 2010.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Your membership in -- and activism with -- Gun Owners of America has made a world of difference over the past several months.
The past couple of years were supposed to be the worst on record, as far as gun rights are concerned. With the election of Barack Hussein Obama, Americans went rushing to gun stores and generated a buying spree that created shortages of firearms and ammunition around the country.
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were in charge of the legislative branch, and with the election of Obama, everyone was bracing themselves for the worst.
But even with the deck stacked against us, Gun Owners of America began working with friendly congressmen to get good legislation passed... and to defeat most of the anti-gun bills that were thrown our way.
What follows here is a record of what ALL OF US were able to accomplish by working together. As you read about the amazing success that gun rights activists achieved, please also consider joining Gun Owners of America if you have not yet renewed your membership for next year.
For your convenience, you can go to http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm to update your membership.
We thank you for your support, which makes this e-mail and web service possible.
And now for this year's highlights. The following paragraphs review some of the major achievements that we accomplished together in 2010.
* The year begins with GOA taking the offensive in the battle against the anti-gun ObamaCare legislation. While both houses of Congress have passed different versions of the bill, the fight against this legislation is far from over. A conference committee will most likely have to iron out differences between the two bills and then send the finalized version to each chamber for another vote.
* Gun Owners of America gets involved in the Scott Brown race in Massachusetts. Even though a month earlier, Brown was about 30 points down in his run for the U.S. Senate, GOA is hoping that a win in the Bay State will kill ObamaCare for the year.
After all, replacing the late Sen. Ted Kennedy with someone who opposes ObamaCare will give Republicans the exact number of votes to filibuster the health care bill. Amazingly, Brown pulls off a dramatic come-from-behind win, and political pundits are declaring ObamaCare is now on life-support -- if not dead for the year.
* In a case where GOA has submitted an amicus brief, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of free speech rights in the Citizens United case. The Court ruled unconstitutional huge portions of the McCain-Feingold law, which means that GOA will have greater freedom to hold legislators accountable for their anti-gun voting records.
* GOA begins rallying the grassroots in several different states to pass Firearms Freedom Act legislation. These laws stipulate that a firearm which is made in a state -- and stays in the state -- is immune from federal gun laws that rely on the Interstate Commerce Clause for their justification.
February - March
* GOA continues its campaign to enact good Firearms Freedom Acts (FFAs). Of special note, GOA works with the sponsor of the Wyoming bill to put "teeth" in his bill, thus making it the toughest FFA in the nation. The Wyoming act criminalizes any federal official who attempts to impose a federal gun ban in contravention to The Cowboy State’s law.
* The National Parks gun ban finally expires! GOA worked with Senator John Ensign (R-NV) to get a repeal added as an amendment to a must-pass bill in 2009. This effort succeeded, and the repeal of the Reagan-era gun ban takes effect on February 22.
* The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a very important gun-related case known as McDonald v. Chicago. As Gun Owners of America submits a hard-hitting amicus brief in this case, USA Today asks Gun Owners to submit the Opposing View editorial taking aim at Chicago’s gun ban.
* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cajoles enough "Blue Dog" Democrats to walk the political plank and vote for ObamaCare. Because the House voted for an identical version of the legislation that passed in the Senate last year, Congressional leaders can send the anti-gun bill straight to the President's desk, thus avoiding a Senate filibuster (now that Scott Brown is in the Senate).
GOA was able to gain modest protections for gun owners in ObamaCare. Nevertheless, GOA is committed to repealing this law at the federal level.
* In Virginia, GOA works to successfully pass anti-ObamaCare legislation in the state that will prevent citizens in the Old Dominion from being forced to comply with the insidious federal mandates in the new anti-gun health care law. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signs the legislation.
April - May
* One of GOA's top priorities is getting permitless carry passed in states around the country. To this end, GOA helps lobby for new legislation in Arizona (allowing concealed carry on one’s person) and in Virginia (allowing concealed carry in one’s car or boat) -- without having to jump through government hoops. Both bills are signed by the respective governors of each state.
* GOA begins a fierce lobbying campaign against Elena Kagan as the next Justice for the U.S. Supreme Court. Of special note, GOA targets Senator Jon Kyl in his home state of Arizona. Kyl, the Senate Minority Whip, goes on record saying that Republicans will probably not filibuster Kagan's nomination.
* By the end of the state legislative season, several states have passed Firearms Freedom Act laws, including Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
June - July (Part One)
* The Supreme Court hands down the McDonald decision, stating that Fourteenth Amendment applies the right to keep and bear arms (in the Second Amendment) to all 50 states. GOA uses this opportunity to discuss the impact of the McDonald decision in dozens upon dozens of media outlets.
* Gun Owners of America is the only national gun group on Capitol Hill lobbying to defeat the DISCLOSE Act, which would hinder our ability to expose congressmen’s records around election time. As the first battle is fought in the House, DISCLOSE narrowly passes by a mere seven votes.
* Erick Erickson of RedState.com thanks GOA for taking a strong stand against DISCLOSE, stating: "I support Gun Owners of America, which is a consistent and uncompromising defender of the Second Amendment, not a weak little girl of an organization protecting itself while throwing everyone else under the bus."
June - July (Part Two)
* The fight against DISCLOSE moves to the Senate, where GOA marshals the grassroots to inundate Senate offices with opposition to the bill. Thankfully, there are enough votes to filibuster the anti-free speech legislation, as it dies on a party line vote. (Scott Brown's earlier victory is now paying tremendous dividends.)
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) congratulates GOA for its hard work against the bill, saying that, "Gun Owners of America has been one of the key players in opposing the DISCLOSE Act."
* GOA attorney Bill Olson testifies before Congress against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, telling Senators that, "If [Kagan] were to go on the Court, with what we know about her now, she could be the most anti-gun justice on that Court."
* The U.S. Senate debates the nomination of Elena Kagan. Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, uses GOA testimony to underscore the problems with Kagan: "After reviewing Ms. Kagan’s record and testimony at her confirmation hearing, the Gun Owners of America concluded that, 'The available evidence portrays her as a forceful advocate of restrictive gun laws and driven by political considerations rather than rule of law.'"
* The Senate votes 63-37 to confirm Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. While this was very disappointing, it is important to note that we got more votes against Kagan than we have ever gotten against a Supreme Court Justice that we've opposed -- more than we garnered against Justices Sotomayor or Ginsburg. (On Justice Gingsburg's nomination, there were only three negative votes.)
Bottom line: we gained tremendous ground in our fight against Kagan. There were Senators who voted against Kagan in August who had never before voted against a Supreme Court Justice. And by the way, Senator Kyl was one of the Senators who supported the filibuster against her (see "April - May").
September - November
* GOA’s Political Victory Fund has been busy all year long, working to get good candidates elected. Some of the more notable highlights include knocking off long-time compromisers such as Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah, while helping many good candidates get their party’s nomination -- like Kentucky's Rand Paul in May and Florida's Marco Rubio in August.
* In October, GOA publishes its biannual Congressional Voter Guide. For 20 years, GOA has been the only gun group publishing an open-source national rating for gun owners to use. Our rating has been so devastating in smoking out the anti-gun bias of phony politicians that the Brady Campaign even took us before an administrative court three years ago to try and silence us. They lost.
* On November 2, scores of candidates backed by Gun Owners of America won tremendous victories. In many cases, GOA was the ONLY national pro-gun organization to actively oppose Nancy Pelosi's "Blue Dogs" Democrats. Our aggressive opposition to these Representatives -- who are mistakenly considered to be somewhat conservative -- was well worth the effort as Pelosi was reduced to minority status.
* GOA, having spearheaded the victorious lobbying campaign against the Amtrak gun ban, celebrates its demise this month. The repeal language was authored by Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. The Wicker language takes effect December 15, 2010, and enforces a policy similar to airlines, so that firearms can be transported in checked bags on the trains so long as they are declared and carried in a prescribed manner.
Stand with Gun Owners of America!
As you can see, your activism helped us to accomplish many great things this year. And this should encourage you and anyone you know who is concerned about Second Amendment rights.
SO PLEASE FORWARD THIS E-MAIL TO YOUR PRO-GUN FRIENDS AND FAMILY. We are going to be fighting a lot of battles in the next Congress, and it's good for gun owners all across the country to go into these skirmishes with a reminder that we can accomplish much together (and that we have done so in the past).
As you know, we were able to get two gun bans repealed this past year -- the National Parks ban and the one on Amtrak trains. Now we are going to be lobbying to shut down the BATFE (or to put a straitjacket on them, at a minimum); to liberalize concealed carry (so good people aren't registered like sex offenders before exercising their rights); to block UN gun control; to pass Firearms Freedom Acts (which allow states to imprison any federal official who tries to enforce unconstitutional gun control laws); and much, much more.
Thanks for standing with us. You can go to http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm to make sure that your support remains current.
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