Bob Costas moves the ball downfield on the gun regulation issue


by David Safier

Some people say Bob Costas said too much about guns in his football halftime show. Others say he said too little because he didn't lay out any specific reforms. Because he's Bob Costas, he hasn't been let off the hook. And to his credit, he's taken the ball and moved it farther downfield.

On the Bill O'Reilly Show Wednesday, Costas said we need background checks on everyone who wants to buy a gun. Currently, you only need to do a background check if selling guns is your business.

Federal law requires individuals "engaged in the business of selling firearms" to obtain a license and perform background checks on their customers. People who say they are not "engaged in the business" may legally sell firearms without conducting a background check on purchasers. However, due to a vague definition about what activity requires a gun seller to become licensed, the private sales market has flourished. As Costas noted, an estimated 40 percent of gun sales are conducted by private sellers without a background check.

Bill O'Reilly, who advocates stronger penalties for people who possess illegal weapons, especially if they're used in a crime, didn't press Costas on his assertion. "All right, all of those are reasonable positions," O'Reilly replied. You can watch the video below the fold.

Costas' view is so reasonable, most of the country agrees, including a majority of NRA members (but not the NRA). If you think some anti-gun liberal made up those numbers, think again. They came from a Frank Luntz poll.

A strong majority of the public supports closing this loophole. A January 2011 American ViewPoint/Momentum Analysis poll found that 86 percent of Americans favor requiring a background check for every gun purchase. Although the NRA opposes universal background checks, its members largely disagree. Nearly three-quarters of NRA members expressed support for background checks on anyone purchasing a gun, according to a July 2012 survey conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz.



  1. Being interviewed by Bill O’Reilly on Fox News is certainly a much more robust discussion than one on MSNBC. In the 92 second clip above I heard Bob Costas make at least two claims that were untrue. If one wishes to listen to a longer clip of the interview Fox News has provided a clip to Mediaite.

    I would still love to listen to Alan Korwin interview Bob Costas but I realize that is unlikely to happen. I still hold out hope for it happening.