Jon Stewart faced off with an Oklahoma state senator on gun regulation and the Second Amendment, calling out the lawmaker for “hypocrisy at its highest order” for his contradictory stances.
In a sit-down for his Apple TV+ series “The Problem With Jon Stewart” airing Friday, the host confronted Oklahoma State Sen. Nathan Dahm on his views about regulating guns and the idea that more guns make the country safer.
Dahm has written multiple bills loosening gun restrictions, including the nation’s first anti-red flag law against restricting gun access to those deemed dangerous.
The Republican lawmaker stood his ground on the fact that the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms is the only one that the Constitution says “shall not be infringed,” to which Stewart shot back that it’s also the only one that uses the phrase “well regulated.”
“Just for clarity’s sake, I’m not against the Second” Stewart said. “I don’t want to ban guns. But you’re saying, ‘More guns makes us more safe.'” Yet the host noted that as gun ownership has soared, so have gun deaths. “So when exactly does this curve hit that takes it down? Will a billion guns do it?”
Dahm maintained that even with 50,000 gun deaths a year, that represents just a fraction of the 400 million guns in the country. He insisted that the problem causing gun deaths is the individuals involved, not the weapons themselves. “We need to look at the problems that those people are facing, and how do we address it,” Dahm said.
But Stewart charged back that the lawmaker is opposed to any efforts to address those individual problems because he opposed measures such as registration, background checks and red flag laws.
“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 to?” he asked. “You don’t want anything that could help law enforcement or society determine whether or not a person is a good guy with a gun or a bad guy with a gun,” Stewart insisted.
The two sparred over using anecdotes to illustrate the problem and over comparing gun deaths to other crises, like the plague of fentanyl coming in over the borders.
More than 100,000 Americas died from overdoses in 2022. Dahm noted that is twice as many as died from guns. Stewart asked if he would act on guns, if deaths from firearms reached the same level.
“My point if we’re going to talk about protecting lives, that’s a larger issue in America than guns,” Dahm said. “There’s loss of life through fentanyl. There’s loss of life through obesity. The obesity crisis in America costs six times the number of lives as guns.”
“Right,” Stewart replied, “And you’re the guy saying, ‘You know what would help this? Ice cream.'”
The host challenged Dahm by comparing registering to vote with registering a gun, but the legislator did not back down.
Then Stewart brought up Dahm’s support for banning drag show readings to children.
Dahm insisted that such bans “protect children” while Stewart charged that they infringe upon the right to free speech.
“They can continue to exercise their free speech, just not in front of a child,” Dahm said. “Because the government does have a responsibility to protect [children].”
That comment elicited Stewart’s full derision.
“What’s the leading cause of death amongst children in this country? And I’m going to give you a hint. It’s not drag show readings to children,” Stewart threw back at him. “It’s firearms, more than cancer, more than car accidents.
“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, but when it comes to children that have died, you don’t give a flying f— to stop that, because that ‘shall not be infringed.’ That is hypocrisy at its highest order.”
Watch the full “The Problem With Jon Stewart” interview in the video above.