Late-night hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert hit back at critics who claim it’s “too soon” to discuss gun control in the wake of Sunday’s attack in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
During his monologue on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel said he wasn’t going to address the shooting in full — he had spent nearly 10 minutes doing so on Monday — but did have a message for critics of his comments. “I do want to say something to these nuts who spent most of the day today on television and online attacking those of us who think we need to do something about the fact that 59 innocent people were killed,” Kimmel said. “They say it’s inappropriate to be talking about it because it’s ‘too soon.’ Maybe it’s too soon for you because deep down inside, you know — in your heart, you know you bear some responsibility for the fact that almost anyone can get any weapon they want and now you want to cover yourself until the storm of outrage passes so you can go back to your dirty business as usual.”
Kimmel added, “It’s not ‘too soon’ for us because we’re Americans and last time I checked, the First Amendment is at least as important as the Second Amendment — so we will talk about it. Shame on you for suggesting we do otherwise.”
On CBS’ Late Show, Colbert expressed similar outrage at politicians and pundits who claim discussing gun control at this time is not acceptable.
“The country is still reeling from the shooting in Las Vegas. The official government response has been fine, it’s been pro forma. But I do have a beef with one thing that was said yesterday by White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders when she was asked about tighter gun laws,” Colbert said, before playing footage of Sanders.
“There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is a time to unite as a country,” she said on Monday. “I think we can have those policy conversations but today is not that day.”
In response, Colbert played footage of elected officials and commentators making similar overtures after mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Newtown, Connecticut, Charleston, South Carolina, Lafayette, Louisiana, San Bernardino, California, and Orlando, Florida.
“They always say that a gun tragedy is never the right time to talk about stopping the next gun tragedy,” Colbert said. “It’s like your alcoholic wrapping his car around the tree and getting out and saying, ‘Today’s not the day to talk about my drinking.'”