Bill O’Reilly and Gretchen Carlson made Fox News history this week by experiencing a brief tandem bout of decency. Both hosts came very close to saying that the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, should be renewed. And Fox News fans are taking it so well!

O’Reilly seems to have experienced his change of heart in less than 24 hours. He told Stephen Colbert Monday night “the solution is not some kind of federal gun control.”

By Tuesday, Bill decided maybe it was. He said that Congress should, at least, “debate what kind of weapons should be available for public sale.” A transcript of that part of his monologue, via Media Matters:

BILL O’REILLY: Now, the right wing responsibility. There is too much gun crime in the USA, and high powered weaponry is too easy to get. That’s the fact. So let’s deal with it. 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.

Therefore, Congress should debate what kind of weapons should be available for public sale. And the states, the individual states should decide what kind of carry laws are good for their own people. New laws are definitely needed in the age of terrorism and mass murder. The FBI and other federal agencies need the power to stop suspected terrorists or other evil doers from buying weapons.

That law needs to be very precise. Also, gun dealers all across America should be required to report the sale of certain kinds of guns, heavy weapons, directly to the FBI. Not handguns, not talking about that, but other weapons that would be defined by Congress. That is a sane approach, and would make it a lot tougher for the Omar Mateens of the world to get the weaponry to kill, although as Talking Points has stated many, many times, no society will ever stop all gun crimes, especially in a country which has hundreds of millions of guns already in circulation.

This is a long way of saying that civilians don’t necessarily need to own, say, AR-15s or Sig Sauers or any other “modern sporting rifle,” as semi-automatic weapons are now referred to in some circles.

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Earlier that afternoon, Gretchen Carlson made a similar appeal, saying, “I’m with the majority today, taking a stand. Can’t we hold true the sanctity of the Second Amendment while still having common sense?”

CARLSON: Time now for my take. Every time we have a mass shooting we talk about guns right? Yes, the Orlando massacre was terror, but there is no doubt that Omar Mateen was able to kill so many people because he was firing an AR-15. A military-style assault weapon. A weapon easier to buy in the state of Florida than buying a handgun. Florida sets a three-day waiting period for purchasing handguns but the state mandates no waiting period for any gun that requires two hands to hold. President Obama and gun control advocates have repeatedly called for reinstating the federal ban on semi-automatic assault weapons that expired in 2004. Congress has said no. What do you think? A recent quinnipiac poll shows 58% of you support banning the sale of assault style weapons. Here’s my question today. Do we need AR-15s to hunt and kill deer? Do we need them to protect our families? Yes, I’m in favor of people being able to carry. I think some of these mass shootings would have been less deadly if that were the case. But I’m also with the majority today taking a stand. Can’t we hold true the sanctity of the second amendment while still having common sense? That brings us to our question of the day. Should congress reinstate the assault weapons ban? I know a lot of you aren’t going to agree with me today. That’s fine. That’s what makes America great.

Carlson closed her segment by inviting viewers to give their feedback, which, as you can imagine, went great, leading to rewarding exchanges like this one:

She said the next day people sent her “tons of F-bombs:”

Carlson, God bless her, turned those tweets into a plug for her book: “It’s not the first time I’ve faced criticism for standing up for what I believed in,” she said. “In my book Getting Real, I write about standing up when people called me fat as a kid, when people called me stupid after winning Miss America and a bimbo for working at Fox News.”

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Stirring.


Screenshot via Fox News