Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

WATCH: Jimmy Kimmel Slams 'So-Called Leaders' On Gun Control

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

The grim news of Sunday night's deadly massacre in Las Vegas was inescapable, and the late night TV talk show hosts addressed it head on, none more forcefully than Jimmy Kimmel.

In an emotional monologue, Kimmel, his voice quavering, told his ABC Jimmy Kimmel Live audience that Las Vegas was his hometown. "It's the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up or give up," he said of the mass shooting. "I don't know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen, or maybe a better question, why do we continue to let them to allow it to happen?"

He criticized President Trump for signing a bill last February that blocked an Obama administration regulation aimed preventing people who have been adjudicated mental illness from purchasing guns, crafted after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Kimmel brought up White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' comments Monday that it was not the time to debate gun control measures."We have 59 people dead," Kimmel said. "It wasn't their time either, so I think this is the time for political debate."

Kimmel showed pictures of senators who voted against tighter gun laws in the aftermath of last year's Orlando shooting and then addressed congressional leaders.

He said Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan "won't do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and their prayers today, which is good. They should be praying, they should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country."

Public opinion remains divided on gun laws. Several polls taken this year show that a bare majority of Americans want to see stricter gun control. A CBS News poll in April showed that 54 percent of adults nationwide want gun laws to be stricter, 33 percent want them left as they are, and 11 percent would like less strict gun laws.

Stephen Colbert and James Corden opened their shows on CBS in a similar vein as Kimmel.

Colbert called for action by Congress on gun control. "If we are facing pure evil, then by all means offer thoughts and prayers. But think about what you need to do, and then pray for the courage to do it," he said.

The British-born Corden called Sunday's massacre "the biggest mass shooting in United States history. That's a record that's been set twice since the two-and-a-half years that I've been living in America." The 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando had previously been the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Corden cited statistics that 11,660 people have been killed by gun violence in the past 275 days in the U.S., which is noted in running statistics kept by the Gun Violence Archive.

"Now I come from a place where we don't have shootings at this frequency so it's hard for me to fathom, but it should be hard for everyone to fathom," Corden continued. "Gun violence should not be a staple of American life. Some say it's too early to talk about gun control. For those victims last night, it's far too late."

Kimmel, who last week forcefully spoke out against GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, said he wants his to be a comedy show. "I hate talking about stuff like this," he said. "I just want to, you know, laugh about things every night, but it seems to increasingly difficult lately. It feels like someone has opened a window into hell."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Corrected: October 2, 2017 at 9:00 PM PDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that a CBS News poll earlier this year showed that 11 percent of adults nationwide would like stricter gun laws, when in fact that number reflects the number who said they want to see less strict gun laws.
NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.