Jimmy Kimmel opened his ABC late-night talk show Monday with a sobering and powerful tribute to the lives lost in Sunday’s attack in his hometown of Las Vegas.
Just weeks after his passionate verbal protest against the divisive Graham-Cassidy health care bill, Kimmel's voice cracked as he spoke of Sunday’s mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in which 59 people were killed.
“Here we are again in the aftermath of another terrible, inexplicable, shocking and painful tragedy,” he said.
Kimmel said that the number of tragic attacks across the world “feels like someone has opened a window into hell” and “I want this to be a comedy show—I hate talking about stuff like this,” however, “it’s becoming increasingly difficult lately.”
Kimmel used the large majority of his opening monologue Monday night to speak about “common sense” regarding gun laws in the U.S. “It isn’t about gun control... common sense says no good will ever come from allowing a person to have weapons that can take down 527 Americans at a concert.”
The late-night host poured scorn on President Donald Trump and senators who voted to relax gun laws and accused lawmakers “who won’t do anything” to prevent gun violence of being embedded with the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Kimmel hit back at the notion that there is nothing that can be done to prevent tragic mass shootings, saying, “Of course there’s something we can do about it.”
Watch Kimmel's full monologue below:
“When someone with a beard attacks us we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he reasoned, “but when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, there’s nothing we can do about that.”
Pointing to past tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, Kimmel took aim at gun lobbyists who say it's their second amendment right to bear arms. “Every one of these shootings, the murderer used automatic or semi-automatic rifles which are not weapons you use for self-defense,” he said.
Kimmel called on viewers to take action and demand better gun control from lawmakers and had stern words for the likes of Trump, Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, saying they won’t act because “the NRA has their balls in a money clip.”
“They should be praying...they should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.”
“President Trump is visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, he spoke this morning saying he’s praying for people who lost their lives,” the host said. “In February, he also signed a bill that would make it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally.”
Driving his point home, he said that certain loopholes have made it easier to buy guns privately and showed a collage of 56 senators who, after the Orlando shooting in June 2016, “voted against the bill that would have closed those loopholes.”
Kimmel is referring to a Senate vote in June 2016 that proposed amendments to increase background checks and prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns—but all four proposed bills were defeated.
“89 percent of Democrats and Republicans are in favor of restricting gun ownership for the mentally ill. But not this gang,” Kimmel said. “With all due respect, your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient.”
Kimmel informed viewers that a new bill that will be voted on this week could allow silencers to be purchased legally.
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also spotlighted the silencer debate on Twitter Monday:
“Something needs to be done already,” Kimmel pleaded. “So tell your congress-people to do something. It’s not enough to send love and prayers.”
Kimmel’s emotional monologue prompted a swath of support on social media, including support from Mindy Kaling and Rosie O’Donnell.