On Sunday evening, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver picked up where he left off last week, this time using the mass shooting in Orlando to delve into why lawmakers consistently refuse to pass sensible gun laws, with the HBO host pointing the finger at the usual suspect: the NRA.
Describing the NRA as “like PETA, but for guns, and effective,” Oliver explained how the gun organization keeps lawmakers in line, not only through contributions, but by effectively organizing their members to inundate their congressmen with phone calls demanding they do nothing about our porous gun laws.
“Here we are again,” Oliver stated. “After another mass shooting, with weak legislation doomed to failure. And there is clearly a disconnect between public opinion which favors, to varying degrees, a number of different gun control measures and any practical action in Washington.”
Of particular note were clips he showed of lawmakers explaining that there is no evidence indicating whether gun laws prevent shootings, while on the other hand refusing to fund studies to investigate.
“One of the major funders for academic research, the Centers for Disease Control, has been hamstrung in studying how best to prevent gun violence for the last twenty years,” the HBO host stated, pointing out that the NRA had language inserted into the CDC’s budget, stating: “none of the funds available … may be used to advocate of promote gun control.”
“Now, the CDC was already banned from advocating for gun control laws, or indeed any form of legislation,” he explained. “But the 1996 Dickey Amendment — named after both its sponsor, Jay Dickey, and after the fact that it was an extremely dickey thing to do — had a chilling effect on the CDC funding any gun research at all.”
The host noted that CDC funding for gun research has plummeted 96 percent from 1996 — down to a mere $100,000 out of a total budget of $5.6 billion.
“The only two other things that have dropped 96 percent in the last two decades are Lycos searches and Tickle-Me Elmo-related stampedes,” Oliver quipped.
Oliver wrapped up the segment by passionately pleading with viewers to contact their lawmakers — every day if need be — to repeal the Dickey Amendment.
“It’s not about gun control. It’s enabling us to have an informed opinion about what that could look like,” he exclaimed. “If and when a proposal is on the table that you like, you’re going to have to make all those calls again. It doesn’t take much to outnumber the NRA … But if you want to see serious changes, you actually have to show up every f*cking day.”
Watch the video below via YouTube:
WATCH: CNN justice reporter discusses next steps in Roger Stone case
On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," justice correspondent Evan Perez walked through the next steps in the sentencing of President Donald Trump's former campaign strategist Roger Stone, following a week in which the president and the Justice Department appeared to intervene in the case.
"We know that the president's longtime confidant and friend Roger Stone, supposedly he's going to be sentenced later this week," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "What is the latest we are hearing?"
"The latest is that the judge overseeing this, Amy Berman Jackson, has scheduled a conference call tomorrow to discuss some of the things that went on, and so many things that happened last week, Wolf, including four prosecutors who quit the case," said Perez. "She has yet to even acknowledge the fact that those four prosecutors are no longer there. So, for now, it appears he is going to be sentenced this week, and he has requested twice for the judge to declare a new trial, and we don't expect it is going to happen, and certainly, tomorrow, we will get to the first indication of her reaction to what went on at the Justice Department last week."
Americans arrive home from virus-infected cruise ship
More than 300 Americans rescued from a cruise ship quarantined off Japan because of the new coronavirus arrived back in the US Monday for two more weeks of medical seclusion, as concern rose over passengers who dispersed around the globe after leaving another ship in Cambodia.
The COVID-19 virus death toll exceeds 1,700 in China, where it has infected more than 70,500. Elsewhere, hundreds more have been infected and the virus has sparked panic buying, economic jitters as well as the cancellation of high-profile sporting and cultural events.
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MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace on Monday broke down "the case against William Barr" as controversy continues to envelop the Department of Justice.
"Republicans and Democrats who have served in the Justice Department for the past 12 presidents are today calling for William Barr's resignation as our country's attorney general," Wallace reported.
Wallace read from an open letter signed by 2,000 former federal prosecutors and DOJ officials.