Marjory Stoneman Students Argue for "Common-Sense" Gun Laws With Jordan Klepper

Two seniors from the Florida school that was the site of a fatal shooting last week tell 'The Opposition' host that they don't want "AR-15s and semiautomatic rifles" in schools.
Screengrab/Comedy Central

In the wake of a shooting rampage at their school last week that left 17 dead, two students from Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla. appeared on The Opposition With Jordan Klepper on Tuesday to discuss their push for "common-sense gun laws" after the tragedy.

In an interview with seniors Carly Novell and Delaney Tarr on Tuesday's show, Klepper pushed them on the response they and the broader #NeverAgain movement — which is pushing for stricter gun control laws in the wake of the Florida shooting — are hoping to inspire. Novell said that there should be "legislation to give us a step in the right direction, something small towards gun control."

"We want people to stop getting shot, we want children to stop getting shot at the hands of AR-15s and semiautomatic rifles, so we are working towards more common-sense gun regulations," Tarr added.

Since the shooting in Parkland last week, Marjory Stoneman students including Novell and Tarr have organized the #NeverAgain hashtag, called for an assault-weapons ban from state legislators and organized the "March For Our Lives," a nationwide march on March 24 to demand an end to gun violence. On Tuesday George and Amal Clooney, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw each announced they would donate $500,000 to the March.

Klepper then played devil's advocate, noting, jokingly, that the American way is to reflect after a mass shooting and pray. "Well as we've discovered, thoughts and prayers generally don't protect you from gunfire," Tarr shot back, noting that the Marjory Stoneman students' platform is "unprecedented." Because they are high school students, they can speak for themselves, she argued, and their voices are augmented by social media.

When asked why the #NeverAgain movement feels so "fully-formed" just days after the shooting, Novell noted that gun control has been around for a long time. Klepper then noted that for Americans, guns are often used as a metaphor for liberty. "Why do you want to take away our liberty?" he asked.

"Well, we're not taking away your liberty, actually, and that's something we've tried to make clear time and time again," Tarr responded. "Our goal is, of course, to let our younger siblings, to let our cousins, to let all the younger people that we know in our lives to go to school without that school being shot up. Ultimately that is our goal, to make the world safer, to make our country safer, because this is an American issue. We've seen so much gun control legislation pass through in other countries and it has worked."

When Klepper jokingly asked whether gun control is really the answer, and hypothetically asked whether arming teachers with guns wouldn't be safer, Novell quipped, "That's going to school in a prison and having teachers be your prison guards." Tarr added that solutions including giving guns to teachers, metal detectors and walls were temporary solutions to a persistent problem that wouldn't fit every school.

"Americans love walls," Klepper joked.

Finally, Novell addressed her viral tweet slamming conservative commentator Tomi Lahren for calling it too early to begin pushing gun-control laws. "I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren't there, you don't know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns," Novell wrote in response to Lahren's tweet.

"She told us we had to wait to talk about gun control when waiting is what got us to this point, waiting after every shooting is the reason why nothing ever changes," Novell told Klepper. "So we're trying to talk about it right now and keep talking about it until something changes."

Watch the full clip below.

Prior to speaking with Parkland students, Klepper joked about the criticism the teens have faced for being influenced by adult activists to speak on their behalf. “Hey, I get it. You’re teens now. You’re growing into a new body. A new voting body. It’s normal to go through some changes. Maybe your opinions on welfare have sprouted up overnight or your view on taxes have gotten a little hairy but you should not experiment with gun control,” Klepper joked, adding, “Don’t let one fling with activism ruin your whole conservative future. This is why the only safe method of civil engagement is abstinence.”

Klepper then advised that the next time teens to avoid the “urges” to get “hot and heavy at a protest” or “go down on a ballot in a local election ... you’re probably just being manipulated by outside forces.” Klepper proceeded to quip that 17-year-olds are simply being “bankrolled by a cabal of shadow organizations covering their bus fare.”