A Republican state senator who has sponsored bills to ease gun restrictions faced a tough room from comedian Jon Stewart.
During the latest episode of his AppleTV+
show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” the former “Daily Show” host called out Oklahoma State Sen. Nathan Dahm and other Republicans for not being more willing to take legislative action on gun violence in the midst of ongoing mass shootings in the United States.
Specifically, Stewart asked why the government won’t create a more comprehensive gun registry and enact stronger restrictions on gun ownership.
Dahm, calling himself a “strong proponent of the Second Amendment,” said focusing on the country’s “fatherlessness crisis” would be a better way to protect Americans from gun violence. (Many have disputed this connection.)
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Stewart, for his part, noted he doesn’t oppose the Second Amendment and doesn’t want to ban guns. “The registry would allow you to have much more effective background checks,” he said. “I don’t understand why you won’t just admit that you are making it harder for police to manage the streets by allowing all of these guns to go out without permits, without checks, and without background stuff. Why can’t you just stand by that?”
“Because that’s not what I’m doing,” Dahm responded. “I’m defending the individual’s right to keep and bear arms.”
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Despite Dahm’s claim of school shooters coming from “broken or fatherless” homes, the National Association of School Psychologists says “there is NO profile of a student who will cause harm.”
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“It’s firearms,” Stewart said of the country’s leading cause of death among children. “More than cancer, more than car accidents. And what you’re telling me is you don’t mind infringing free speech to protect children from this amorphous thing [drag shows] that you think of, but when it comes to children that have died, you don’t give a flying f— to stop that, because that shall not be infringed.”
Starting in 2017, firearm-related injuries overtook car accidents as the top cause of injury-related death for people ages 1 to 24, according to a 2022 analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In 2020, 4,357 children younger than 19 were killed by a firearm, according to KFF, a healthcare think tank. When combined with child firearm deaths in the United States’ similarly wealthy and large peer countries, gun-related child deaths in the U.S. account for 97% of the total, KFF found.
President Joe Biden last year signed into law the most substantial gun-violence measure in decades, which had earned bipartisan support from lawmakers after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y.
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The legislation aimed to toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic-violence offenders, and help states establish red-flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from potentially dangerous people. Many gun-control advocates, however, argued the bill did not go far enough.
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