Following the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night — the deadliest in modern U.S. history — late night hosts have led the charge in igniting a national conversation about gun control. The massacre left at least 59 people dead and 527 injured after Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor Jason Aldean performance from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Police later found 23 different firearms in Paddock’s hotel room.
After tearfully defending the Affordable Care Act months prior, Jimmy Kimmel choked back tears again last night as he passionately argued for a sea change in gun regulation. He barely feigned cheerfulness as he opened his monologue:
“Here we are again in the aftermath of another terrible, inexplicable, shocking and painful tragedy — this time in Las Vegas, which happens to be my hometown,” he said. “And, of course, we pray for the victims — and for their families and friends, and we wonder why, even though there’s probably no way to ever know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings who were at a concert having fun, listening to music.”
Kimmel, whose audience is half conservative, didn’t receive applause until he said we need to “put politics aside and agree that no American citizen needs an M16, or ten of them. And maybe that way, we don’t do this again.” In fact, Kimmel has been risking a lot by separating from his audience base in the past few months and standing up against major Republican policies.
In a less surprising move, the uber-liberal Seth Meyers also spoke out against the violence last night. In a direct plea to Congress, Meyers asked, “Are there no steps we can take as a nation to prevent gun violence? Or is this just how it is, and how it’s going to continue to be?”
He added: “If you’re not willing to do anything, just be honest and tell us. … If it’s going to be thoughts and prayers from here on out, the least you can do is be honest about that.”
Even Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has joined the chorus of voices in support of gun control in the U.S. Rowling tweeted out a stark reminder yesterday that the U.K. enacted strict reforms after a gunman massacred schoolchildren in Dunblane in 1996.
If even celebs from the U.K. are pointing out our problem, then shouldn’t we maybe do something about it? How many acts of extreme violence will it take before people wake up and realize we need to make it harder for unstable men to amass arsenals?