WASHINGTON – NBC sportscaster Bob Costas shot himself in the foot, again, in a damage-control appearance on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” explaining his controversial remarks about gun control during a “Sunday Night Football” halftime show.

Costas angered millions of Americans by using his sports broadcaster platform to blame “the gun culture” for the murder of a woman by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who also used it to kill himself.

He began by praising a column by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock. Then Costas added: “In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows? ‘But here,’ wrote Jason Whitlock, ‘is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.’”

But Costas, who had three days to digest criticism by those who believe “guns don’t kill people,” revealed on Bill O’Reilly’s program he is woefully unaware of current gun laws in America – suggesting he is opposed to the unrestricted sale of “military-style artillery” and “automatic weapons,” both of which are banned.

O’Reilly didn’t point out that fact in the interview.

Costas insisted he is not opposed to the Second Amendment of the Constitution but merely wants to address “a gun culture in this country.”

“It plays itself out in many ways, but it almost always leads to tragedy rather than safety,” he said.

Costas also added that when guns are prevalent, “far more often than not, bad things happen.”

But Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, points out “there are so many self-defense shootings each year that the national news would be carrying several accounts a day.”

Guns are used more than 4,000 times a day in self-defense, using conservative research findings, he said in a response to the Belcher murder posted on his group’s website.

“In fact, using those conservative figures given us by the Clinton Justice Department, guns are used 50 times more often in self-defense than to illegitimately take life,” said Pratt.

For his part in the discussion, O’Reilly suggested it was America’s founding fathers “who gave us the right to bear arms,” a claim that the founders themselves would find ludicrous. They believed the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights were universal, inherent and inalienable – i.e., bestowed by God.

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