UPDATED: The departure of Fox News’ top ratings magnet Bill O’Reilly does not appear to have drawn many tears from Second Amendment activists responding to a question posed on Facebook, and according to Bloomberg News, his exit isn’t likely to hurt Fox’s bottom line.
O’Reilly said it is “tremendously disheartening” that he and Fox have parted ways, according to Newsmax.
A final word on the O’Reilly flap was tastefully delivered Wednesday evening by Dana Perino, who simply noted in part:
“It is the end of an era here at the Fox News Channel. As we mentioned earlier, Bill O’Reilly is leaving this chair and this network after more than 20 years. Bill has been the undisputed king of cable news—and for good reason. He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raised the bar for interviewers everywhere. He has also held his staff to exacting standards in his quest to put the best possible program on the air, and they are great.
“And you, his audience, responded in record numbers, making The Factor the No. 1 cable news show for more than 16 years. You have also been loyal, and we can’t tell you how much that means to everyone on The Factor.”
But when it comes to gun rights, O’Reilly frequently fired blanks, his critics in the firearms community suggest. As transcribed by The Daily Banter on June 15 of last year, O’Reilly had some opinions about firearms and the Second Amendment that were, according to critics, pretty far off target.
“We all have the right to bear arms, but we don’t have the right to buy and maintain mortars. Even if you feel threatened by gangsters or a New World Order. No bazookas, no Sherman tanks, no hand grenades. That’s because the Second Amendment clearly states the government has a right to regulate militias, made up of individuals. They have that right in the name of public safety.”
The Second Amendment says no such thing. It says that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
There is nothing in there that “clearly states,” or even implies, that the government the authority, much less the right, to regulate a militia, and O’Reilly clearly missed the X-ring when he defined the term “well regulated” as it was understood in 1789.
His rhetoric about buying bazookas or tanks was the sort of blather normally confined to chic liberal cocktail parties and wine tastings.
O’Reilly also stated, “gun dealers all across America should be required to report the sale of certain kinds of guns, heavy weapons, directly to the FBI.” He did not define what “heavy weapons” might encompass, and legions of gun owners would argue against any such dealer requirement on the grounds that it is none of the government’s business what kind of firearms someone owns. So long as people act responsibly and cause no harm, their firearms aren’t anyone’s business, activists might say.
Fox has already juggled the evening time slots. Where O’Reilly is concerned, he appears to be an empty case left on the range that nobody cared to reload.