Talk show hosts issue emotional call for gun control, gun rights advocates push back

Posted at 7:11 PM, Oct 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-03 21:11:18-04

DENVER -- Talk show hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert used their monologues Monday night to issue emotional pleas for Congress and the President to do something about gun violence.

Referring to the mass shooting Sunday night in his hometown of Las Vegas, Kimmel choked up and said, "There is probably no way to know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings who are at a concert having fun."

"As a result," he added, "we have children without parents, fathers without sons, mothers without daughters."

He noted that some politicians say this is not the time for political debate.

"I disagree with that," he said. "We have 59 innocent dead and it wasn't their time either, so I think now is the time for political debate."

Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, opened his show by saying terrible things happen in the world.

"Today, we feel they've risen to a new level," he said. "We cannot accept that as the new normal."

"...the President called it an act of pure evil," Colbert added, "and I think he's right. So what then are we willing to do to combat pure evil?

Both hosts believe there is plenty that can be done.

"When someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every precaution to make sure it doesn't happen again," Kimmel said. "But when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, then there's nothing we can do about that."

"Universal background checks," Colbert suggested, "or come up with a better answer. Enforce Obama's executive order that denied mentally ill gun purchases, or a better answer. Reinstate the assault weapons ban, or come up  with a better answer. Anything but nothing."

Gun rights advocates push back

It's natural to want to do something, to take some kind of action, but gun rights advocates say more laws aren't the answer.

They say criminals will always find a way to get a gun.

When asked why anyone should be allowed to have an automatic weapon capable of firing bullets that can pierce police protective gear, Wheat Ridge gun shop owner Robert Parker said the Second Amendment already has more restrictions placed on it than any other amendment.

He said background checks are required in Colorado and there is a limit on the size gun magazines you can purchase.

"Most owners don't mind going through background checks," he said. "In California, New York and Washington D.C., there are even more restrictions on people guns rights, and I think at a certain point, you just have to say, 'enough is enough.'"

The head of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners told Denver7 that "no gun control laws would have stopped the Las Vegas shooter."

"But clearly," Dudley Brown added, "gun control advocates will use the situation to advance an agenda to strip constitutional freedoms from an ever-expanding number of Americans."

The RMGO website includes a post with a graphic stating "Assault is a behavior, not a device."

No Action Planned in Congress 

In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, Republican leaders tabled a House bill that would have loosened access to gun silencers.

"The silencer bill is "not scheduled right now.  I don't know when it will be scheduled," House Speaker Paul Ryan told ABC News.

They also declined Democratic requests to expand background checks and tighten restrictions on semi-automatic weapons.

Rep. Chris Collins, R-New York, said action on guns after Las Vegas was unnecessary.  "We are not going to knee-jerk react to every situation."