Stephen Colbert, host of CBS’s Late Show, slammed the Senate Tuesday for not passing the four gun bills proposed in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, FL, that left 50 dead, including the shooter, and another 53 wounded.
Citing flawed poll numbers that indicate widespread support for background checks, Colbert argued that lawmakers are bucking the will of the people.
“I don’t understand you, senators,” Colbert said. “Ninety-two percent of Americans want to expand background checks for gun buyers, and you just ignore them. Since when does 8 percent of the population get to have total control of an issue?”
Colbert went on to make a joke about allowing one’s grandmother to control all the radio stations during a road trip before adding, “I’m sorry. I know it must be hard to be in the Senate and find common ground on such a politically fraught issue — and,” Colbert paused, “you know what? [Expletive] that. I’m gonna take the gloves off.”
The comedian then began to hurl a bunch of insults at the Senate. Some funny, some not so funny.
“You might as well let the gun lobby check for a hernia as long as they’ve got their [testicles] in your hands,” exclaimed Colbert.
What was missed in Colbert’s haphazard critique of the Senate is that of the four bills in the Senate, two were proposed by Democrats and two were proposed by Republicans with the NRA’s support, hence one could just as easily blame gun-control advocates for stymieing the passage of new legislation.
A quick reminder of what was on the table on Monday:
- Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) put forth an amendment that would require universal background checks for all gun sales, including those between private buyers and sellers made over the Internet and at gun shows.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) put forth an amendment that would prohibit the sale of firearms and explosives for those on the terrorist watchlist. She introduced a similar version of the bill back in December, following the mass killing in San Bernardino, CA. It also failed to clear the Senate.
- Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) put forth an amendment that would increase funding for NICS, the FBI’s system for running background checks on prospective gun purchasers, to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. The bill would also seek to clarify language regarding the mental health disqualifications for gun purchasers.
- Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) put forth an amendment that would give the government the power to deny the sale of a firearm to a suspected terrorist for a period of 72 hours after which time prosecutors would have to go to court to show probable cause on why the sale should be blocked, permanently. This bill was backed by the NRA. It also failed to clear the Senate in December.
A new compromised version, known as the “Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act of 2016,” was introduced on Tuesday by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). This No-Fly, No-Buy bill combines elements from Sen. Cornyn’s bill and Sen. Feinstein’s bill. It’s not clear at this point if/when the Senate will vote on it.