Last week, Jon Stewart sat down with Oklahoma State Senator Nathan Dahm on March 9th's episode of The Problem with Jon Stewart to discuss several bills he’s penned that aim to loosen gun restrictions across the state — all while laying out why these laws are so dangerous to children.
Dahm’s position is clear: He is a “strong proponent of the Second Amendment,” and truly believes that “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” In practical terms, that means Dahm’s legislation has focused on ensuring there are fewer restrictions on guns — including helping author the first law in the nation that eliminates red flag laws, which can make it harder for certain people who may do harm to themselves, or others, to get access to guns.
In the conversation, Stewart clarified that he doesn’t want to ban guns but pushed on Dahm’s statement that his proposed bills will increase safety.
“I don’t want to ban guns. But you’re saying more guns makes us more safe. So, when? We got 400 million guns in the country. We had an increase, and gun deaths went up,” Stewart replied. “So when exactly does this curve hit that takes it down? Would a billion guns do it?”
The United States does indeed have more guns than people. And, only two months and change into the new year, there have already been more than 1,000 children injured or killed due to gun violence, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The proposed legislation Dahm is attempting to push would remove already lax gun regulations, including background checks and requirements that you register your firearms.
Stewart pressed Dahm to explain why gun-related deaths and injuries have gone up and how removing regulations would help that situation. Dahm argued that it’s “the individual that’s the problem” in why gun violence rates have increased and not easy access to firearms.
“We need to look at the problems that those people are facing,” Dahm argued, saying implementing widespread gun laws isn’t the answer. However, Stewart pointed out that with the proposed changes to gun regulations, there would be no way to look at the individuals.
“If you don’t have background checks, and you don’t have registration and permitting, how do you know who has a problem in terms of the people who you’re giving a gun?” Stewart questioned.
Stewart also asked Dahm why he feels so little about gun violence yet has strong feelings about harmless events like drag performers reading books to kids at the library.
“Because the government does have a responsibility to protect ... children,” said Dahm.
“What is the leading cause of death of children in this country?” Stewart asked since Dahm said his concern is kid safety. “And I’m going to give you a hint; it’s not drag show readings.”
Last year, gun violence became the number one killer of kids in the United States, more than car accidents, drug overdoses, and poisoning deaths. Until that point, car accidents had been the number one killer of kids since 1999. Most of these gun-related deaths are from children being murdered by guns, but there has been an increase in the number of death by suicide, too.
Stewart continued, “And what you're telling me is, you don't mind infringing free speech to protect children from this amorphous thing that you think of,” Stewart added, referencing drag performers, “but when it comes to children that have died, you don't give a flying f-ck to stop that.”
“You want to say, ‘I’m a Second Amendment purist, and I’m making it safer.’ You're not. You’re making it more chaotic, and that’s not a matter of opinion. That’s the truth.”
You can watch the full interview on YouTube or Apple TV+.
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