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Bob Costas responds to critics of his remarks on Jovan Belcher

Bob Costas, in explaining his remarks about guns in the wake of the Jevon Belcher tragedy, said, "Now, do I believe that we need more comprehensive and more sensible gun-control legislation? Yes I do. That doesn't mean repeal the 2nd Amendment .... It means sensible and more comprehensive gun-control legislation."
(Evan Agostini / Associated Press)

Bob Costas, who has been heavily criticized in some quarters for his remarks about guns Sunday in the wake of the murder-suicide committed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, said Tuesday night that he was not calling for gun control but rather wanted to push for a candid conversation about America’s gun culture.

Costas told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, “Where some people may have misunderstood my comments was I took one aspect of it .... I do not think this is the only aspect or possible aspect. There’s clearly a domestic violence aspect. There’s clearly the question, as I alluded to in a general way, of what effect playing football — which we know has debilitating effects, mind and body, at least for some — what effect that might have had. What effect alcohol and drugs might have had. And another aspect of that is easy access to guns and a gun culture. And it was that aspect — the gun culture — that I focused on. Not to the exclusion of the others but just because I didn’t have all that much time.”

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The Times’ original report on Costas’ remarks has received over 750 comments, many accusing Costas of attacking the 2nd Amendment.

“What I was talking about here, and I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear to everyone, was a gun culture. I never mentioned the 2nd Amendment, I never used the words ‘gun control.’ People inferred that. Now, do I believe that we need more comprehensive and more sensible gun-control legislation? Yes I do. That doesn’t mean repeal the 2nd Amendment. That doesn’t mean a prohibition on someone having a gun to protect their home and their family. It means sensible and more comprehensive gun-control legislation.”

Belcher legally owned several guns.

“Give me one example of an athlete — I know it’s happened in society — but give me one example of a professional athlete who by virtue of his having a gun, took a dangerous situation and turned it around for the better,” Costas said. “I can’t think of a single one. But sadly, I can think of dozens where by virtue of having a gun, a professional athlete wound up in a tragic situation.”

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