National Rifle Association executive vice president and columnist Wayne LaPierre has unveiled a new conspiracy theory, alleging that NBC sportscaster Bob Costas' discussion of the murder-suicide involving NFL player Jovan Belcher was part of a plan by “media conglomerates” to ban guns.
On Sunday Night Football, Costas quoted approvingly from a FoxSports.com column that noted, “If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and [his victim] Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
Responding on the December 3 edition of NRA News, LaPierre said Costas was promoting “an anti-Second Amendment agenda by somebody in the media with access to these media conglomerates that are more than happy to amplify that all over the country and try to ram it down the throats of average American citizens.”
LaPierre and NRA News host Cam Edwards went on to use Costas' comments to promote joining the NRA:
EDWARDS: [Americans] can join the NRA and join a part of the largest organization in America protecting and defending the right to keep and bear arms.
LAPIERRE: Yeah, I mean we are about to be victim of a siege against the Second Amendment in this country going into Obama's second term. I mean it's going to be ugly. It's going to come hard, fast and soon. And were going to have to survive this period of unprecedented danger. And the best way to survive is to make the NRA stronger than ever. Never has membership in NRA been more important than right now.
The NRA often trades in baseless conspiracy theories to promote gun ownership and NRA membership.
In September 2011, LaPierre announced the existence of a “massive Obama conspiracy” to end private firearm ownership in the United States. The basis for LaPierre's claim that Obama would "[e]rase the Second Amendment" in his second term was that Obama did not act on guns during his first term. The NRA also claims that a United Nations treaty with the stated goal of preventing diversion of weapons to human rights abusers will be used as a pretext for gun confiscation in the United States.
LaPierre also used his NRA News interview to attempt to undermine Costas' message by falsely claiming that Costas supports banning firearms:
LAPIERRE: [Viewers] tuned in to watch a sporting event and meanwhile what they get in regard to this cold blooded murder that took place, is they get a national sportscaster whining about his social agenda that he wants adopted to ban firearms and ban handguns.
America got it. That's why they are so upset about what Bob Costas did last night. I mean they know what he was advocating was eliminating their right to own a firearm under the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Costas did not call for gun bans in his Sunday Night Football commentary. Addressing those remarks during an interview with The New York Times, Costas said that he did not think “people should be prohibited from having guns” and added, “I think most reasonable people think we do not have sufficient controls on the availability of guns and ammunition.” Indeed, polls regularly show broad support for commonsense gun laws.