Flashback: The Time ‘Magnum P.I.’ Himself, Tom Selleck, Taught Rosie O’Donnell a Lesson About 2A Rights

Once upon a time in Hollywood, the world of actors was not always a cabal of cowardly socialists who all thought and said the exact same things, lest they draw the wrath of the woke mob upon their heads.

Though many actors dating back to Hollywood’s earliest days advocated more “progressive” politics and social ideas than the average moviegoer, there were still more than a few whose perspectives better reflected the beliefs of their more traditional viewers.

Even as recently as the turn of the century, 1999, one could still find an actor or two who advocated for “far-right” policies, like traditional marriage, and even gun rights.

One such actor was Magnum P.I. himself, Tom Selleck, who, in that far-off year of 1999, got into a rather heated debate on the subject of gun control with actress Rosie O’Donnell on her talk show.

On May 19, 1999 (not long after the Columbine shooting), Selleck stopped by to talk about his then-new movie “The Love Letter” on O’Donnell’s show.


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O’Donnell, who, as reported in Popculture.com later said she never tried to be a “get you” interviewer, decided instead to challenge Selleck on his position on gun rights.

Selleck is certainly an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. As reported by Reuters, Selleck served on the Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association from 2005 until 2018.

Historic Vids on the social media platform X shared one of the more contentious moments from the interview, in which both got quite heated.

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Selleck began the clip saying “Look, something’s happened. Guns were much more accessible 40 years ago. A kid could walk into a pawn shop, or a hardware store, and buy a high-capacity, magazine weapon that could kill a lot of people, and they didn’t do it.”

“The question we ought to be asking is — look, suicide is a tragedy…” he noted, making a nuanced point that, even now, most liberal talk show hosts wouldn’t want to hear. “… And it’s a horrible thing but 30 or 40 years ago particularly men, and even young men, when they were suicidal, they went and, unfortunately, blew their brains out.”

“In today’s world, someone who is suicidal sits home, nurses their grievance, develops a rage, and is just as suicidal, but they take 20 people with them. There’s something changed in our culture.

“That’s not a simple –” he tried to continue, but O’Donnell interrupted him.


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“But you can’t say that guns don’t bear a responsibility,” O’Donnell contended, as if guns were demons possessing their owners to commit heinous atrocities.

She asked “Why wouldn’t the NRA be against assault rifles? This is a gun that can shoot five bullets in a second.”

It would be very interesting to know where she found that ludicrous figure.

She continued, “This is the gun that the boys brought into the school.”

Selleck tried to tell her that “I can’t speak for the NRA,” to which O’Donnell interjected “But you’re their spokesperson, Tom,” which, he actually told her more than once in that interview, he was not.

Then, after he wearily asked, “Can you not put words in my mouth?” she laughably insisted, “You can’t say that ‘I will not take any responsibility for anything the NRA represents,’ if you’re saying that you’re going to do an ad for the NRA.”

Selleck, his patience clearly worn thin at this point, just wearily responded “Really?” before this particular clip ended.

What was truly amazing about the clip was how much hasn’t changed in the debates over the Second Amendment and gun rights between 1999 and now.

Selleck expressed in this 25-year-old interview many of the same points modern-day gun rights advocates express, that what had changed when it came to school shootings was not the availability of guns.

Rather, it was something that changed in our culture that convinced troubled young men that the only outlet for their rage and despair was shooting up public places.

But, O’Donnell, like many a good modern leftist, relied on fear-mongering, inaccurate statistics, and attacks on Selleck’s character to make her “all guns are evil” argument.

Though Selleck has not been a board member of the NRA since 2018, he has been a member of the organization most of his life, and, throughout almost his entire career, he has advocated for the right of every American to defend themselves.

Hollywood legends who have actually stood up for what is right have been few and far between, especially in recent years.

But, especially in this interaction with O’Donnell, Selleck has proven to be one of those legends.

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