Movie star Tom Selleck's publicist confirmed to Fox News that the actor has stepped down from the National Rifle Association’s board of directors. According to a report by The Trace on Tuesday, the 73-year-old has been a member of the NRA since the tender age of 8. In 2017, he received the highest votes in the board's election. That said, a spokeswoman for the organization informed that he resigned due to other commitments. The NRA's National Firearms Museum has also received a few rifles and revolvers from Selleck's movies as a donation from the avid gun collector.
Selleck stepped down from the board “due to his work schedule,” but was never truly “active on the board", Annett Wolf, the actor’s publicist, told The Trace, a non-profit website covering gun violence in the US. However, he is still a member of the organization. “He has nothing to do with policy,” Wolf told the outlet. “He’s never been active on the board or anything the NRA engages in. He’s almost always been a silent board member."
Back in 1999, the erstwhile poster boy of “Magnum P.I.” received backlash after his pro-firearm comments on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show”. While he was originally slated to promote the movie "The Love Letter", O'Donnell turned the talk show into a debate about guns in the wake of the Columbine shooting. Selleck also recently appeared in an advertisement for the NRA at the time.
“But you can’t say that guns don’t bear a responsibility,” O’Donnell asked. “If the makers of the TEC-9 assault rifle… Why wouldn’t the NRA be against assault rifles? This is a gun that can shoot five bullets in a second. This is the gun that those boys brought into the school. Why the NRA wouldn’t say, as a matter of compromise, 'We agree, assault weapons are not good.'”
“I’m not…I can’t speak for the NRA,” he replied.
“But you’re their spokesperson Tom, so you have to be responsible for what they say,” O’Donnell said.
“But I’m not a spokesperson. I’m not a spokesperson for the NRA,” Selleck said.
In the NRA ad campaign featuring Selleck, the 'Three Men and a Baby' star was quoted saying, "Shooting teaches young people good things. Because all good rules for shooting are good rules for life." Just a month later, the Columbine massacre claimed the lives of 15, including the two gunmen who opened fire in their high school in Colorado.
In 2010, almost a decade after the debate with O'Donnell, Selleck recalled watching the talk-show host discussing controversial topics with her co-hosts on The View, and if he was personally affected by the heated exchange. "I still like Rosie," Selleck told the Today Show at the time. "I think she needs to take a deep breath and stop thinking everybody who disagrees with her is evil."
People were still not satisfied with Selleck's take on the whole thing. In 2013, MSNBC star Lawrence O’Donnell questioned Selleck's "humanity" while speaking of the actor's role in the NRA after the Sandy Hook massacre.