As mass shootings in the U.S. return to their disturbing pre-COVID frequency, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee aired a special episode on Wednesday about gun violence, why it has become the norm in this country, and how to put an end to it.
Bee began “Full Frontal Wants to Take Your Guns” by noting some statistics that by now shouldn’t be surprising: that Americans have 40 percent of the world’s privately owned guns despite making up only 4 percent of the global population, that there are more guns than people in the U.S., and that the number of gun murders nationally far surpasses that of other developed countries.
This is partly due to the ease with which one can buy a gun, as well as the availability of certain types. To portray the many faults with this status quo, Bee recalled a past public safety issue that also claimed thousands of lives before people decided to do something about it.
“For the first few decades of the auto age, driving fatalities were seen as inevitable,” Bee explained. But deaths, she pointed out, have decreased steadily since the 1970s. “That didn’t just happen; we made it happen through measures like federal safety standards and decades of really weird messaging about seatbelts.”
A clip then played of a handful of sometimes odd yet nevertheless effective public service announcements regarding the safety device.
“Our country saw a public health crisis in driving fatalities and we didn’t just give up because it was too hard to address. We decided it was important,” Bee said. “But what if we had never demanded [change]?”
In this vein, Bee then tasked a mechanic with “defiling” her minivan to see what it would look like and how it would function if it was regulated as little as firearms are.
At the conclusion of the episode, it was revealed that the car’s seat belts had been ripped out. State safety inspections or emissions tests were no longer required. Driver’s licenses and registrations had been shredded. And these were just a few of the changes.
“Gun manufacturers are masters of disguise when it comes to hiding how dangerous their weapons really are,” Bee said. “They add gadgets like lasers to create the illusion that this deathtrap is a video game or a toy. So [instead of an airbag], we added bubbles.”
Ultimately, Bee ditched what was left of her minivan, not seeing much use for it anymore.
“When something can so easily kill, we make common sense changes to ensure everyone’s safety… even though now I have no way of getting home.”