Comedian Seth Meyers refused to back down from NRA intimidation on Tuesday’s “Late Night,” when he dedicated over eight minutes of his show to revealing why the U.S. Senate refuses to pass sensible gun control laws that have overwhelming support with voters.
“The NRA and the gun lobby would like us to stop talking about this issue and just move on, but we can’t keep doing that,” Meyers proclaimed before launching into his takedown.
After a 15-hour filibuster from Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), the Senate allowed legislation to finally see a vote on Monday. “And, finally, common sense prevailed. The Senate responded to the national outcry to do something about gun violence and… I’m just kidding! All of the bills were rejected,” Meyers said in a fake-out.
The Democratic bills proposed would have mandated background checks for all gun purchases and barred those on the no-fly list from being able to purchase a gun. The latter, Meyers said, is important because the gun show and online gun sale loophole is so big you can fit the state of Texas through it. “You don’t even have to fill out a CAPTCHA,” Meyers remarked. A CAPTCHA is that annoying thing you must fill out to prove you’re not a bot online.
The laws in those states might be in conflict with nearby states, but it’s so easy to transport guns across state lines that it hardly matters. “Even states with strict gun control laws still face problems with guns from states with much looser laws,” Meyers said.
“There are often fewer hoops to jump through to buy a gun than to buy all kinds of much less dangerous items,” Meyers said. He cited a CNN report that showed it is easier in some places to get a gun than it is to get a driver’s license, a passport, cold medicine like Sudafed, a pet and a divorce. “It’s easier to get a gun than a divorce,” Meyers emphasized. “And by the way, if you ever hear your spouse mumble that in their sleep, get out of there!”
The Senate rejected a measure to regulate assault weapons like the AR-15, which has been used in many of the mass shootings we’ve seen in the past 10 years. Even the family of the man who invented the gun talked about how the weapon was never intended for civilian use.
“Unfortunately, all of this evidence has failed to overcome the NRA’s sway over GOP lawmakers,” Meyers continued. According to a report from ThinkProgress, the NRA has given over $36 million to the 56 lawmakers who blocked the bills from passing.
“The money may a factor, but it’s not the only or even the main reason the NRA is so powerful,” he explained. “It’s that gun owners are passionate and mobilized and often vote on this one issue alone. Which is why every election cycle, politicians have to go through the ritual of professing their love of guns, even if they have to fake it.” Even Mitt Romney tried to convince hunters he was one of them because he hunted “varmints.”
“Romney was so good at self-aggrandizing I guess I shouldn’t be surprised the nominee after him specializes in it,” Meyers joked about Donald Trump.
Even Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton criticized former then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008 for being anti-sportsmen. Obama famously called her out saying she was running around like she was Annie Oakley.
But one small victory in the vote on Monday, two Republican senators who are up for re-election this year voted in favor of some of the gun control measures. Clinton too has adopted gun control as a major issue in her campaign this year as well.
“Hopefully, that’ll mean there will be a political price to be paid for lawmakers who oppose gun control at the behest of the NRA, because that’s the only way we’ll make progress on this issue,” Meyers said in his closing. “If gun control advocates out-organize the NRA and hold pro-gun politicians accountable at the ballot box. Banning assault weapons and passing background checks is common sense or, as President Obama might put it,” Meyers then played a 2008 clip of Obama shouting “come on!”