Wednesday on “The Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert bashed the Senate for voting against a bipartisan bill that would have modestly expanded the background checks required in some firearm sales.
Of course, Colbert did so in elaborately ironic fashion, feigning sympathy with lawmakers who have to face the victims of gun violence — people who are, he claimed, more dangerous than guns themselves.
“It seems these days every time you turn on the news there’s another heartbreaking story about victims of gun violence … targeting innocent members of Congress,” he began. “It has to end. I know I’m not going to win any awards for saying that, unless the NRA gives out awards. Oh, they do? Oh, it’s a seat in the Senate? Great.”
He then played a widely circulated clip from town hall meeting this week in which Erica Lafferty, whose mother, Dawn Hochsprung, was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, confronted New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte for voting against the bill.
As it ended, Colbert emerged from a hiding place under his desk and asked, “Is it over?”
Describing Ayotte as the “latest senseless victim of these victims,” he continued on his rant: “We cannot underestimate the danger posed by the victims of gun violence. They are sympathetic figures who are fanatically committed to having someone do something.”
Colbert conceded to President Obama’s claim that there are no coherent arguments to be made against background checks, which are, he joked, “slightly more popular than Nacho cheese.”
But, he argued, “Grieving families aren’t the real victims, gun owners are.” Case in point: Sen. Rand Paul, who said he found it “sad” that Newtown families were being used as “props” by proponents of tighter gun control measures.
As so often happens on “The Colbert Report,” the satirist’s intentionally distorted logic hewed alarmingly close to the arguments made by some on the far right, like talk radio host Bob Davis, who recently claimed on air that if background checks were to be expanded, then the loss would be even greater than what the Newtown families suffered.
“Yes, the parents of Newtown only lost their children, but Bob Davis might have to fill out some forms at a gun show,” Colbert reasoned. “That’s a precious waste of time, time that could be spent yelling at people who have lost their children.”