Video of comedian and television host Jon Stewart confronting Oklahoma state Senator Nathan Dahm about guns has gone viral on social media, being viewed more than 8 million times by early Saturday afternoon.
Stewart posted a video of his interview with Dahm, a Republican who has served in the Oklahoma Senate for more than a decade and has advocated for loosening gun laws, to Twitter on Friday morning. The 8-minute clip quickly spread across social media, garnering significant attention and sparking debate about gun control.
Debates over gun laws continue across the United States, with many arguing that strengthening these regulations would prevent mass shootings and reduce gun violence. Proponents of gun rights, however, say these laws would infringe on their right to possess firearms. So far this year, more than 7,000 people have died in gun-related incidents, and there have been 94 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive.
During the interview, Stewart—who has called for the country to have stronger gun control laws—pressed Dahm about his unwavering support for gun control. He confronted Dahm about his beliefs that more gun ownership makes Americans more safe and what efforts the U.S. can take to curb gun violence without implementing stronger gun laws.
State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-OK) has penned several bills loosening gun restrictions, including the nation’s first anti-red flag law. He thinks these bills protect the Second Amendment – and that they make us safer. We think it’s probably one or the other. Watch it on @AppleTVPlus. pic.twitter.com/T7fLFLjTQ5
— The Problem With Jon Stewart (@TheProblem) March 3, 2023
In one viral clip from the interview, Stewart asked Dahm about why he supports absolute gun rights, but limits to other constitutional rights, including the right to free speech and voting.
Specifically, he asked whether Dahm’s support for banning drag queens from performing in front of children, a policy embraced by many Republicans, but is also viewed by others as a violation of the First Amendment, contradicts his support for complete gun rights.
“They can continue to exercise their free speech, just not in front of a child,” Dahm said, adding that the government “does have the responsibility to protect” children.
Stewart then asked: “What’s the leading cause of death among children in this country? And I’m going to give you a hint, it’s not drag show readings to children.”
Television host Jon Stewart is seen on August 6, 2015, in New York City. Inset, a gun control sign on March 24, 2018, in New York City. Video of a Stewart interview, in which he confronted Oklahoma state Senator Nathan Dahm over his stance on gun laws, went viral, amassing more than 8.7 million views early Saturday afternoon. Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central; Barbara Alper/Getty Images
The senator responded that he “presumed” Stewart would say firearms are the leading cause of death.
“I’m not going to say it, like it’s an opinion. That’s what it is. It’s firearms. More than cancer, more than car accidents,” Stewart said. “And what you’re telling me is you don’t mind infringing free speech to protect children from this amorphous thing 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 the highest order.”
Social Media Reacts
Many social media users on Twitter praised Stewart for his interview.
“@jonstewart remains one of the best interviewers on American television. Please watch this till the end. Especially the voter registration vs gun registration analogy. An absolute masterclass,” tweeted MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan.
“You’re pivoting to anecdotes”@jonstewart remains one of the best interviewers on American television. Please watch this till the end. Especially the voter registration vs gun registration analogy. An absolute masterclass. https://t.co/za57DaSo5c
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) March 3, 2023
“!!! AT ITS HIGHEST ORDER!!” tweeted basketball player LeBron James.
Others, however, criticized Stewart.
“He compares voter registration to gun registration, but omits that several of the gun control states make gun ownership WAY harder than registering to vote. If a Republican state made voter registration the exact same process as buying a gun in CA, they’d be screaming bloody murder. So sure, Stewart got his ‘gotcha’ I guess, but he doesn’t actually want a gun registration system as easy as voter registration,” tweeted attorney Kostas Moros.
Newsweek reached out to Dahm for comment.