In the days before the release of Jordan Klepper’s Comedy Central special “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns,” the former “Daily Show” correspondent went out of his way to try to appeal to gun owners to watch his show. He told Uproxx that the anti-gun attitudes on display in his special were just parody, and while he “leans left” on gun ownership, he believes that “if we’re being honest, there’s definitely a perspective on the right that assumes people on the left are all just like this character.”
Instead, for an hour Klepper did everything he could to bolster the claim of the modern-day gun control movement that they’re not anti-gun, but only interested in a few “common sense” measures. Sadly for Klepper, his propaganda effort fell short.
In Klepper’s special, the politics of gun control can be divided into three unequal groups. First, there’s the really small number of people who want to take away all guns. According to Klepper, they’re such a small and insignificant group that we shouldn’t even bother with them. But they’re used, according to Klepper, by the second member of the gun politics trinity—the big, bad National Rifle Association (cue ominous music). The NRA, according to Klepper, tries to scare gun owners by making them believe that everyone wants to take their guns away. And that stops the third group, the “gunsense” crowd, from making any real strides in its totally common sense, totally not anti-gun agenda.
Klepper carefully constructs strawmen arguments that he can use to attack NRA members, but he avoids any real critique or examination of the policies that he supports.Klepper carefully constructs strawmen arguments that he can use to attack NRA members, but he avoids any real critique or examination of the policies that he supports. Take so-called “universal” background checks, for instance. Klepper comes out in favor (of course) of this supposedly simple and easy step to reduce violent crime, but he never actually talks about what’s happened with the “universal” background check laws that’ve been implemented (hint—none have made violent crime a thing of the past). He fails to mention the 2016 election and its aftermath, when voters in Maine rejected Bloomberg’s background check bill and Nevada voters narrowly approved it, only to find out that the carefully written referendum couldn’t be enforced. Nor did Klepper discuss the “universal” background check bill introduced in New Mexico this year.
The New Mexico story is an egregious omission, because how the legislation went down to defeat is a perfect example of why Americans reject the so-called “common sense” solutions offered up by anti-gun activists. Gun-ban billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent heavily in New Mexico’s legislative races in 2016, and Democrats took control of the Legislature. A “universal” background check bill seemed like a slam dunk, but Democrat lawmakers were soon overwhelmed with calls from their constituents urging them to reject the legislation. Every county sheriff in the state came out in opposition, and after a lawmaker tried to use the death of Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Webster in support of the legislation, his widow, Bernalillo County Deputy Michelle Carlino-Webster, spoke out publicly about anti-gun politicians using her husband’s death for political gain, and made it clear that neither she nor her late husband supported the background check legislation.
If Klepper really wants to “solve guns,” he needs to be able to listen to those individuals who would be responsible for enforcing the new laws he wants on the books. If he had bothered to talk to Carlino-Webster, he would have found out that, in her words, “The idea of [Daniel Webster] having to go to a licensed firearms dealer, complete federal paperwork and pay a fee for a records check on his buddy at work or on my dad if he wanted to sell or loan a gun to either of them is not only ridiculous, but intrusive. He certainly did not believe this type of gun control would solve the larger problems in our communities.”
Despite lawmakers watering down the proposal in hopes of garnering more support, the “universal” background check bill failed to get out of committee in the New Mexico Legislature, even if it did win the support of a Comedy Central host.
In the end, it’s clear that Klepper is less interested in “solving guns” than “spinning gun control.” Like Democratic Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty’s recent statement to activists to use the term “gun safety” instead of “gun control,” Klepper’s Comedy Central efforts amount to an attempt to control the narrative—not to reduce violent crime across the country.
Cam Edwards is the host of “Cam & Co.,” which airs live 2-5 p.m. EST on NRATV and midnight EST on SiriusXM Patriot 125. He lives with his family on a small farm near Farmville, Va. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @camedwards.