“For me there always was a stigma attached to hand guns,” said Eric Bolling, the former commodities trader, who was once signed to a minor league baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.
“Everyone had it. My wife had it. My son had it,” he said. But, when he and his family actually started firing handguns, they learned why so many Americans enjoy guns.
“We go out to the range, take the instruction, where you are taught how to handle the gun, where your hands are placed and where your fingers should be,” Bolling said.
“You realize you’re better and safer after you handle the gun than you were before,” he said.
“God forbid my son picks up a loaded gun somewhere without the training,” he said. “Who knows what could happen?”
“Now, he knows the proper way to pick up the gun,” the former trader said.
“Literally, they taught him on a rubber gun—they threw him a gun to make sure he catches it the right way,” he said.
The experience has become a family experience, he said.
“Frankly, he and I, both hitting targets, we keep getting better and figuring out about guns. It’s a great bonding thing for me and my son,” he said.
Bolling has always been a vocal supporter of gun rights, and for many years he owned a shotgun that he never used, he said.
“It just sat there in its case it was given to me years ago when an uncle passed away,” he said.
“I started shooting maybe a year ago,” he said. “A friend of mine opened a gun range – a guy who lives in my neighborhood.”
His friend’s range is RTSP is a brand-new facility located in Randolph, N.J. “He said to me: ‘You know it’s really, really hard to get the license and finally get it open, it took three years to open. You should come out and check it out.’”
When he went, he brought his wife and son, and videotaped it all on his smartphone, Bolling said. He has shown the video on both his programs.
“It kinda caught on. My family likes to shoot,” he said.
“It is really something we enjoy and it is important to keep talking about it and keep it in the news,” he said.
“For example, when I was out at my friend’s range last Sunday, he told me there is this thing trying to make its way through the New Jersey state legislature,” he said.
It was a bill to outlaw different types of ammunition; Bolling said his friend told him it would kill his new business.
“They are trying to back door out of the Second Amendment at the state level not by banning the guns, but by out banning the ammo,” he said.
“Fortunately, it failed in the New Jersey legislature,” he said.
“Besides, the fact that every time a Democrat gets elected to the Oval Office gun sales go up because people are afraid the liberal will take away our rights to own guns,” he said.
The increase in gun sales is because women and people who were not comfortable with guns are getting involved, he said. “It’s a whole new audience, a whole new consumer.”
“Interestingly enough, my friend, who owns the range—his wife won’t go out there, but my wife will,” he said.
The first time he mentioned gun rights on “The Five,” he showed the video of his family at the range, he said.
“I’ve been talking about this for five years, so no one was surprised,” he said.
“The Five” started in July and it was an unusual way to replace the Glenn Beck show. Beck would lecture his audience with graphs and notes he would write on a chalkboard. “The Five” is a free-wheeling discussion show with five personalities sitting at a table.
Besides Bolling, the hosts are: Dana Perino, Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld and Andrea Tantaros. Bolling, Perino and Gutfeld are permanent hosts and the others rotate in and out.
Bolling said he was not worried about filling the Glenn Beck time slot on Fox News.
The day Beck announced his departure, Bolling went into action by sending an email to the boss at Fox News, he said. “I sent an email to Roger Ailes: ‘You know, I would kill for that five o’clock slot.’”
Ailes sent back a short reply: “Yeah, you and 2,000 other people,” he said.
“The way I understand it, there were a bunch of people who could have filled it and he didn’t want to make a full decision on which one,” he said.
“One day, he had a napkin in his office and he started writing names down, and he said: ‘You know what? Let’s go with all five.’”
Bolling said, “Sure enough he did, and it’s working, it’s clicking and it’s huge.”
“We all get along very well,” he said.
“Beckel and I are obviously the furthest apart politically, but the guy is one of my closest friends,” he said.