Jimmy Kimmel gave an emotional and impassioned plea for political action on Thursday night while discussing the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead and 14 others injured.
“Children are being murdered,” Kimmel, a father of four, said, tears welling in his eyes.
“Don’t you dare let anyone say it’s too soon to be talking about this. Because you said it after Vegas, you said it after Sandy Hook, you say that after every one of these (eight, now) fatal school shootings we had in this country this year,” Kimmel stressed. “Do something. We still haven’t even talked about it. You still haven’t done anything about this. Nothing. You’ve literally done nothing.”
“Tell your buddies in congress — tell Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio, all the ‘family men’ who care so much about their communities — that what we need are laws, real laws, that do everything possible to keep assault rifles out of the hands of people who are going to shoot our kids,” Kimmel said. “Go on TV and tell them to do that. That is a perfect example of the common sense you said you were going to bring to the White House. Tell these congressman and lobbyists who infest that swamp you said you were going to drain, force these allegedly Christian men and women who stuff their pockets with money from the NRA year after year after year to do something now, not later.”
“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” the 71-year-old former Celebrity Apprentice host tweeted. “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
Later, during a speech about the tragedy, Trump said the country needs to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health” but notably did not mention guns or gun control in the entirety of the roughly 6.5-minute statement.
Many critics have slammed him since, noting of an Obama-era regulation Trump rolled back last February that had made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.
Kimmel was quick to point that out as well. “You’ve done worse than nothing. You like to say this is a mental health issue, but one of your very first acts as president, Mr. Trump, was actually roll back the regulations that were designed to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. You did that.”
“I agree, this is a mental health issue,” Kimmel continued, “Because if you don’t think we need to do something about it, you’re obviously mentally ill.”
“Every reasonable American, Republican or Democrat, knows that something needs to be done. Something. And we’re not doing anything,” Kimmel said. “What we need and what you can do to ease our pain and prevent future pain is something.”
Cruz allegedly used an AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifle during Wednesday’s shooting, which he reportedly obtained legally.
The weapon, which the National Rifle Association boasts as “the most popular rifle in America,” was used in recent mass shootings at a Las Vegas concert, a Texas church, and an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, among others, according to The New York Times. It was prohibited under a federal assault weapons ban in place from 1994 to 2004 but has since emerged as “America’s rifle,” editor Mark Chesnut wrote for an NRA website.
Attempts at prohibition have only led enthusiasts to purchase more of them, with production of AR-style rifles rising from 107,000 in 2004 to 1.2 million in 2015, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, reports NBC News.
The reason the gun turns up so often in reports of mass casualties is that “they have a higher capacity for bullets, and therefore for shots fired,” Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told PEOPLE.