Jon Stewart expertly corners pro-gun Republican: “You don’t give a flying f**k” about children dying

"That is hypocrisy at its highest order," Stewart told Republican who wants to protect kids from drag shows instead

Published March 3, 2023 1:03PM (EST)

Jon Stewart in “The Problem With Jon Stewart” (Apple TV+)
Jon Stewart in “The Problem With Jon Stewart” (Apple TV+)

Comedian Jon Stewart clashed with Oklahoma state Sen. Nathan Dahm in a debate about gun control and drag shows.

Stewart discussed gun violence with Dahm, a "Second Amendment purist," on the latest episode of his Apple TV+ series The Problem with Jon Stewart. The Republican argued that rather than guns, the country should focus on addressing "fatherless" and broken homes, prompting strong pushback from Stewart.

"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 said. 

"The registry would allow you to have much more effective background checks," Stewart continued. "I don't understand why you won't just admit that you are making it harder for police to manage the streets by allowing all of these guns to go out without permits, without checks, and without background stuff? Why can't you just stand by that?"

"Because that's not what I'm doing," Dahm responded. "I'm defending the individual's right to keep and bear arms."

Stewart countered by noting that Americans have to register in order to have voting rights.

"So you have to register for a right. Is that an infringement?" Stewart asked the lawmaker.

"Does the right to vote say 'shall not be infringed?'" Dahm responded.

"Oh, so this is just a semantic argument?" Stewart retorted, to which Dahm quickly said "no, it's not."

Stewart then accused Dahm of being a hypocrite, since he and many other Republicans want to stop children from seeing drag performances.

"Are you infringing on that performer's free speech?" Stewart asked.

"They can continue to exercise their free speech, just not in front of a child," Dahm argued.

"Why?" Stewart pressed. 

"Because the government does have a responsibility to protect —" Dahm said before being cut off by Stewart.

"I'm sorry?" Stewart interjected, pushing his ear forward as he waited to hear the word "children."

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"What is the leading cause of death among children in this country?" Stewart asked Dahm during the discussion.

"And I'm going to give you a hint," he said, "it's not drag show readings to children."

"Correct, yes," Dahm responded.

"So what is it?" Stewart asked again.

"I'm presuming you're going to say it's firearms," Dahm said.

"No, I'm not going to say it like it's an opinion," Stewart said with indignation. "That's what it is. 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**k to stop that because that shall not be infringed." 

"That is hypocrisy at its highest order," Stewart concluded.

By Samaa Khullar

Samaa Khullar is a former news fellow at Salon with a background in Middle Eastern history and politics. She is a graduate of New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism institute and is pursuing investigative reporting.

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Clip Guns Jon Stewart Nathan Dahm Politics