There was Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper, lost in the one-sided ramblings of an episode of “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns.” Klepper was trying to be a snarky leftist appealing to young, urban liberals, and certainly succeeded at being a hipster doofus as he mocked people coming and going from the NRA Annual Meetings in Atlanta.
Klepper kept telling passersby, who were likely mostly NRA members, that he wants to “solve guns.” A woman replies with her nose crinkling, “Solve guns?” A young man gets played when he is asked what his favorite shooting is. He thinks Klepper means his favorite shooting match, and we must wonder how long it took Klepper to find his victim.
Klepper’s antics would fit right in with Tosh.O, Trevor Noah or Stephen Colbert, but it is insulting to anyone who understands the nature of freedom. Maybe a few replied to Klepper something like: “You mean you want to solve gun violence? If so, you’re in the wrong place for that, pal. Try a place where good people don’t have their right to bear arms for that.” But if anyone pushed back like that, Klepper made sure they didn’t make the cut—the anti-gun narrative isn’t about honesty, it is about making fools out of America’s 100 million-plus gun owners. And by making fools of them, to make it seem uncool to own a gun or to shoot.
Even HBO’s loudest liberal comedian, Bill Maher, admits that going to the range is fun and that having a gun for self-defense is a right so important that he has admitted owning handguns.That’s not an easy task. Despite the politics that prevail in Hollywood, as any action-movie producer would have to admit, guns, when used responsibly and legally, are fun to shoot—they can even empower a person not to be a victim. Even HBO’s loudest liberal comedian, Bill Maher, admits that going to the range is fun and that having a gun for self-defense is a right so important that he has admitted owning handguns. When Playboy interviewed Maher in 2015, the interviewer said, “It’s strange to think of you as a gun lover,” which led Maher to explain that he thinks “Second Amendment people” have a “sickness” he doesn’t have. He said, “I do not love my gun. That’s the f—ing problem with these Second Amendment people. They love guns. For them, it’s not just that guns should be available; it’s that they’re seen as awesome.”
That smugness—an elitist attitude that says I should have this freedom, but all of those people out there can’t be trusted with it—is common enough with anti-gun politicians and celebrities who have armed security details. But this attempt to ridicule away our freedom is a new trend.
Making an opponent and his or her argument the object of a joke is one way to win a debate, but this tactic only really works when the facts being mocked aren’t popularly understood. But thanks to the NRA and other advocates of freedom, the fact that the Second Amendment is a freedom issue—a civil rights issue—is only misunderstood today in far-left enclaves.
This episode of Klepper’s new show ran June 11. Days before, another comedian from the left side of American politics, Kamau Bell, tried the same approach on his CNN show “United Shades of America.” Bell, however, was pushed toward a little honesty, whereas Klepper chose to shrug off the virtues of our freedom with insults (when he calls gun owners “dumb” even U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., corrects him). Still, both Klepper and Bell try boorish humor in very serious situations. When gun trainers try to teach them the NRA rules of gun safety before they try shooting handguns, for example, they both say absurd and insecure things a brash child might utter when looking for attention.
Both Klepper and Kamau also play fast and loose with anti-gun talking points. They let “facts” on mass murders and more mined from anti-gun groups like Everytown for Gun Safety go unchallenged—if challenged, no doubt, they’d say they are only comedians, not real journalists. So, although their agenda is real, they’d likely claim they are not accountable for it.
This trend begs the questions: Why are comedians now taking the lead in the anti-Second Amendment attacks? Is mockery their last line of attack? And finally, how should a gun owner respond to a snarky progressive who mocks our freedom?
Some of the answers were actually in Bell’s “United Shades of America.”
Why are comedians now taking the lead in the anti-Second Amendment attacks? Is mockery their last line of attack?Bell begins with a discussion with his wife about protecting the home. She is opposed to him getting a gun, but okay with him trying it for comedy. He gets a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver. He goes through the background check in California and complies with the laws. Along the way, he proceeds to take ignorant and cheap swipes at the NRA as he refers to gun control groups as “gun safety” groups. (Just who does he think certifies gun trainers, works to train police officers, espouses the NRA rules of gun safety and more? The anti-gun groups?)
But then moments of honesty seep in. Bell actually says we need things like “gun safety classes in the hood.” While visiting Kennesaw, Ga., the town with that infamous law requiring homes to have guns in them (the law is only a political statement, as there are exemptions for anyone who would rather not comply), Bell concedes while speaking to law enforcement that people are safe in the “good” gun culture. Bell seems willing to speak to everyone but the NRA, when it is the NRA that teaches gun safety and that is now reaching out to law-abiding citizens in inner cities who’ve been deprived of their rights.
Bell’s entire, hour-long narrative took him to a place where he was asking for a “gun safety” group to show people how to safely shoot and store firearms. Yet he was still unable to understand that the group best at doing that is the NRA.
Bell did once Tweet: “I want Obama to take away your guns.” But he hints that this is an evolving position. He says, “There is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my family.” This basic truth should help him to begin to drop the demagoguery and to see a little of the truth about individual freedom.
Still, he gives a dishonest take on the history of the “Black Panther movement” in California and is unable to see beyond anti-gun talking points. But when his wife asks, “what a gun is going to solve” in a break-in situation, he points out that it would give him and his family a fighting chance.
In the end of the episode, after describing himself as a “lefty with a gun,” Bell decides he is not going to tell us whether he decided to keep the .357 magnum for home defense. Instead, he wants anyone who might want to do him or his family harm to risk meeting a lefty with a gun.
This, as it turns out, is a good way to answer any snarky comedian who mocks your right to bear arms. Just ask him or her, as Bell concluded, if they or their loved ones were confronted by a criminal intent on doing them harm, would they want to be armed?Frank Miniter is the author of Kill Big Brother, a novel that shows how to keep government from infringing on our liberties. Miniter is also the author of the The New York Times' bestseller The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide—Recovering the Lost Art of Manhood, This Will Make a Man of You and The Future of the Gun. He is a contributor to Forbes and writes for many publications. His website is FrankMiniter.com.