Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos appeared on Tuesday's O'Reilly Factor to openly lobby for more gun control and reflect on his previous career as a Democratic operative for Bill Clinton. O'Reilly played a clip of Tom Brokaw comparing not speaking out about guns to allowing racism to flourish in the south.
Responding to this, Stephanopoulos hedged, "It's not the analogy I would use, but I think what he was talking about there is the kind of passion that people feel right now." Later, the reporter opened up about his own liberal take on guns: "Look, I have been a long-time supporter of gun control measures that, you know, I think are in accord with the Second Amendment." [MP3 audio here.]
Talking about his days with Clinton, Stephanopoulos reminisced, "I worked for President Clinton when he passed the assault rifles ban." The GMA host dispared that the White House effort didn't restrict more guns: "I wish it would have been more effective. But it was very true there were so many exceptions to it."
Stephanopoulos lobbied that we need to "have a limit on the number of bullets that can be in a gun magazine. I think that's just common sense."
The journalist, clearly versed in the talking points of the gun-grabbing left, even brought up "the experience of Australia [and its gun ban] back in the 1990s."
In a previous appearance, O'Reilly told Stephanopoulos: "You're a Democrat. I'm an independent." This brought no protestation from the journalist who is supposed to hold his biases in check at ABC. Clearly, the ex-Democratic aide doesn't make much of an effort to do this.
A transcript of the January 22 segment is below:
BILL O'REILLY: Continuing now with George Stephanopoulos from the ABC News studios in New York City. Now I want to get your take from Tom Brokaw former NBC News anchor saying this about supporting gun control.
TOM BROKAW: It reminds me a lot of what happened in the south in the 1960's during the civil rights movement. Good people stayed in their houses and didn't speak up when there was carnage in the streets and total violation of the fundamental rights of African-Americans as they marched in Selma and they let Bull Connor and the redneck elements of the south and the Klan take over the culture and become the face of it. And now a lot of people who I knew who grew up during that time have deep regrets about not speaking out.
O'REILLY: All right. So is it valid to compare gun control with civil rights?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It's not the analogy I would use, but I think what he was talking about there is the kind of passion that people feel right now and the need that a lot of people feel to speak out. I agree with that. We can differ about exactly how -- exactly how to get a handle on this gun violence in the country right now, and I don't think it's as simple as either/or, what is making sure people have equality in the law.
O'REILLY: But is it-- when you say, okay it's a play for passion to speak out, is that on both sides in your opinion, speak out against.
O'REILLY: Speak out for gun control or for the Second Amendment rights? I mean, are you supporting both sides?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm all for that kind of engagement. Absolutely.
O'REILLY: Where do you come down on it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Look, I have been a long-time supporter of gun control measures that, you know, I think are in accord with the Second Amendment. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with having background checks.
O'REILLY: Okay. And I think most gun owners don't mind that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I personally don't see-- I mean do believe that it could help reduce some violence to, you know, have a limit on the number of bullets that can be in a gun magazine. I think that's just common sense.
O'REILLY: Isn't that though -- isn't that a state's issue? Look, New York state passes --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- but guns are being -- well, that's true except the guns are going to cross state lines.
O'REILLY: No, no, no. But all the feds have to do is draconian penalties on anybody who drags them across state lines.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, I have heard you talk about that. Here is my question back to that, Bill. How are you going to -- you are not going to set up border searches for every state to see whether people are carrying guns across state line.
O'REILLY: No. You can't have border searches but you have a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that's responsible for this. Just like you have a DEA and an FBI.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But then -- so how would it work? If somebody buys an assault weapon?
O'REILLY: Yeah, you can't take an assault rifle or a certain type of weapon across state lines ever. And if we find you doing that or you traffic in it, you get a mandatory federal sentence.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How are you going to be able to track that? How could you possible do that?
O'REILLY: When you bust them. When you bust them. When there is a criminal that uses a gun. You trace it back to where it came from. And then they go in and you slap out -- all gun crimes should be federalized, you know that. Take it out off the state realm.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm all for federalizing gun crimes.
O'REILLY: Yeah, you gotta.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm all for cracking down on enforcement on gun trafficking.
O'REILLY: Wait -- let me go to your question. How are you going to enforce it? You are not going to be able to enforce any ban on AR. There is 300 million guns in this country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's why I think it's a little bit different from the civil rights issue.
O'REILLY: Yes, you can't enforce it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I worked for President Clinton when he passed the assault rifles ban. I wish it would have been more effective. But it was very true there were so many exceptions to it. We could have a debate about universal buy backs.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.