On Friday gun zealot* and rock-‘n’-roll superstar Ted Nugent lashed out at Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly for misleading the public on the issue of guns.
Nugent, who is no stranger to controversy or as he likes to call it, “raising hell,” said in an article published in Ammoland, that O’Reilly is “either woefully ignorant of the most basic of firearm laws, nomenclature, rules and requirements, or he has a clear anti-gun agenda and is a willing puppet for those who want to end the Second Amendment.”
Now, even if one is a fan of Nugent (like myself), he/she has to admit that he has a proclivity, on occasion, to put his foot in his mouth.
At times, he’ll say things that are incendiary (“if Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year”), politically divisive (“we need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November”), or in poor taste (telling a reporter, I’ll suck your d**k).
That said, in this particular instance, the Motor City Madman is spot on with his analysis (although, he could have done without some of the cheap shots, i.e. O’Reilly’s “crack staff of researchers”). The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Check out this discussion between O’Reilly and GOP Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
As Nugent pointed out, the implication made by O’Reilly that someone can just go out and purchase a machine gun or “bazooka” without any federal reporting is straight up ridiculous. Nugent wrote:
Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. While owning machine guns is legal, it has been intensely restricted since 1934. There is a labyrinth of federal, state and local requirements one must comply with in order to own a fully automatic weapon, short-barreled rifle or sound suppressor.
Uncle Ted then went on to put his money where his mouth is:
I sent Bill a note and challenged him that I would donate $10,000 to the charity of his choice if anyone on his staff can go out and legally buy a machine gun or bazooka in the next 30 days without the federal government knowing about it. No word back yet from the “No Spin Zone” guy.
In watching the video, it’s my inclination that O’Reilly is not a closeted “gun-grabber,” but rather a boastful ignoramus with respect to guns, gun laws, and the efficacy of gun control.
Not only is this evident by the way he conflates rules regarding the sale of semiautomatic weapons with fully automatic weapons, but also by his insistence that the government should track the private sale of ammunition, and the insinuation that increased government surveillance would eliminate or greatly reduce mass shootings.
The reality is we have stringent laws on the books for the sale of “heavy weapons” and we have the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is specifically designed to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
But even so, the larger point, which was only obliquely addressed in the O’Reilly conversation, is that whether it’s 60,000 rounds and an AR-15 or a 200 rounds and a 9mm, a sociopath can inflict a lot of damage on the unarmed and the innocent. Consequently, the debate should focus on (a) better ways to identify and help the mentally unstable and (b) ensuring that our 2nd Amendment right to self-defense remains wholly intact.
Nugent touched on these topics in an interview with Glenn Beck:
Hopefully, Nugent’s challenge to O’Reilly serves as a teachable moment for the Fox News personality. If not, we may have to take Nugent’s advice and start watching the O’Reilly Factor with a “jaundiced eye.”
* the term “gun zealot” is a compliment in my book
(Photo Credit: Randy Snyder, Getty Images)