Conan on Orlando Tragedy: 'Weapons of War Have No Place in Civilian Life'

Conan O’Brien took an admittedly uncharacteristically serious turn during the taping of the Monday night episode of TBS’ Conan, proffering his opinion on the availability of semi-automatic assault rifles like the one used in Sunday morning’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, leaving 49 people dead and dozens more injured.

“I have really tried very hard over the years not to bore you with what I think,” OBrien started. “However, I am a father of two, I like to believe I have a shred of common sense, and I simply do not understand why anybody in this country is allowed to purchase and own a semi-automatic assault rifle. These are weapons of war, and they have no place in civilian life.”

He continued, “Nobody I know or have ever met in my entire life should have access to a weapon that can kill so many people so quickly.”

Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that he legally purchased in the last 10 days from a gun store near his Fort Pierce, Fla. home.

Noting that mourning the victims of mass shootings — many of which are committed using AR-15s and guns like them — is “becoming a national ritual,” O’Brien said in conclusion, “It’s time to grow up and figure this out.”

What do you of O’Brien’s stance on semi-automatic assault rifles?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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54 Comments
  1. Norwegian Blue says:

    Meanwhile, today a French police officer and his wife were stabbed to death by a person swearing allegiance to ISIS, and a Canadian was beheaded in the Phillipines, but you won’t see Conan or Colbert or John Oliver demand that knives be banned. I guess stabbing deaths are okay according to Hollywood.

    • luke says:

      A knife has many purposes. A semi-automatic weapon has only one purpose.

      • M3rc_Nate says:

        I think professional two and three gun competition shooters who feed their families and send their kids to school from the money they make shooting semi-automatic guns at paper and metal targets would disagree with you. But sure, guns owned by civilians are only used for killing, even though i’d bet 90%+ never harm a human being and of those that are shot, 90%+ are only ever shot at beer cans, metal targets, wood and paper targets. A extremely small minority of legal guns are used to kill or harm people compared to the mass majority that are only ever used for target practice or nothing at all.

        • Angela says:

          But anyone who owns a gun does so because they believe they may have to use it at some point on something other than beer cans or metal targets, that something logically possibly being another person (since the biggest reason most people own guns is to protect themselves from intruders). If all they’re going to do is shoot at beer cans or targets their whole lives, why not get a slingshot or a crossbow instead? Why even bother getting a gun? Why shoot at targets if they aren’t planning on training to learn how to use that gun against a possible intruder someday, or to go hunting?
          .
          It’s very disturbing to me to think there’s money to be made in learning how to shoot semi-automatic rifles at things. There is no logical reason your average citizen needs to own a semi-automatic rifle. If they absolutely NEED to have a gun in their home, why can’t a basic handgun or a hunting rifle do? Why do they need arsenals? Why do they need military-style weapons if they aren’t in the military? Are they seriously expecting a big, dramatic showdown of some sort at some point, be it with the government or with other gun owners (who would argue, by the way, that they’re just exercising their own “Second Amendment rights”, just like the “good guys” are)? Do they think having those kinds of guns in their homes makes them look “cool” or “tough”? What is the reason?
          .
          Also, even if they have no plans to ever shoot a human being….accidents happen. Tragic accidents. People are more likely to be injured or killed by a gun that’s in their home, and in an accidental shooting at that, than they are by some intruder intentionally coming in to shoot them. And that happens because people are horribly irresponsible with keeping their guns locked away, and keeping them out of the hands of children (I find it odd that our country tells kids they can’t drink, or learn to drive, or smoke, or other things of that sort, until a certain age….but apparently a child carrying around a violent weapon is no big deal for some people). On “The Daily Show” tonight they mentioned that just this year alone, 23 people have been shot by toddlers who were holding guns. Toddlers. I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty horrifying. And 23 people is a lot, considering we’re not even fully halfway through 2016 yet. That’s a problem.
          .
          When people say that guns have only one purpose, what they mean is that it has absolutely NO non-violent uses for it whatsoever. Be it a beer can, an animal, or a huma being, whatever or whomever a gun shoots, it will injure or destroy in some form or another. A knife, on the other hand, while it can indeed be used to stab somebody, can also be used to cut food, or a rope, or to shuck wood.
          .
          Sure, most people who own guns will only shoot a human being if absolutely necessary, as a means of self-defense. But that doesn’t negate the fact that there’s certain types of guns your average citizen does not need to own, nor does it negate the fact that we have had way too many incidents of people going on mass shooting sprees because they were able to get these guns so easily. Even if we only ever had ONE mass shooting, that’s one too many, and we need to take steps to learn how to, at the very least, reduce the chances of that becoming a common thing. People going around yelling “Second Amendment rights!” and “More guns!” does not seem like a logical response to this kind of horror to me.

          • matt webb says:

            All of a sudden people act like they are just discovering the word “semi automatic rifle.” They have been around for well over 100 years. Semi auto rifles ARE designed for civilian use. Select fire weapons, full auto, 3 round burst, whatever you call it, ARE made for military use. Dont start complaining til you know what you are talking about. By the way. If you remember correctly, during the last ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN, there were many mass shootings. What good did it do? NONE!

        • Pedro says:

          You seem to make the point that most people don’t even need guns, then.

    • Marconia says:

      I think you missed the point. A semi automatic weapon was used to kill almost 50 people. A knife cannot do as much harm as this unnecessary weapon. Guns such as these are meant to kill, not to defend.

    • TJ says:

      bc you can’t kill 49 people and injure another 50 with a knife before you are tackled and subdued. what is so difficult to understand about that?

    • Esteban says:

      Someone hand this guy a map leading to the general neighborhood of the point being made.

    • ScottJ says:

      The point you’re ignoring is that some degenerate can’t kill 50 people in a few minutes with a knife. And actually certain types of knife are banned in some places.

    • Angela says:

      I am so incredibly sick and tired of people bringing up the, “Yeah, but knives/cars/bats/etc.!” argument anytime the issue of gun control comes up. So, what, because somebody might decide to use another weapon if they can’t get their hands on a gun, that means we shouldn’t do anything about guns? We should just throw our hands up and say, “Well, they’ll just find another way to kill somebody anyway, so why bother?” I don’t GET that line of thinking.
      .
      It’s also an irritating way to try and deflect from the topic at hand. If the mass killings in Aurora, Sandy Hook, Orlando, San Bernadino, Columbine, Charleston, etc., etc. (anyone else alarmed at how many towns and cities I can rattle off for this topic? That should be a massive clue we’ve got a problem right there) were committed with knives, or cars, or whatever other weapon people like to bring up, guess what? We’d talk about knife violence, or car violence.
      .
      But they weren’t. These people were killed with GUNS. Therefore, logic would dictate the conversation will center around guns and gun violence as a result.
      .
      Crimety, I do not get what in the world is so hard about acknowledging we have a problem with gun violence in this country. We’ve already pointed the blame at everyone and everything else under the sun for these shootings, it’s high time we FINALLY acknowledge that yes, guns and people’s access to them, as well as the concept of civilians owning guns that they really do not have any logical reason to own, does play a role, too.

    • eh says:

      Yeah, let’s make false equivalents instead of trying to figure out how to fix things.
      The glaring difference is the amount of casualties.

    • Simon says:

      Dumb. You are just dumb. I don’t normally post negative stuff especially here but dumb, you are just dumb.

    • Pedro says:

      Did they manage to stab 100 people in five minutes, being one vs. 300?

      There is your answer.

    • BillyBobJohnson says:

      I’d like to see someone with a knife kill 49 people and seriously injure another 53 people. Not possible.

  2. luke says:

    Agree with Conan. One could also consider people themselves as weapons of war… This idiot got to grow up in a land that provided him all the freedoms and yet that wasn’t enough. Despicable scum of the earth.

  3. Drew says:

    I agree with Conan. Look at the stats since the assault rifle ban ended in 2004. It’s no coincidence that the number of casualties from mass shootings grew from that year. Statistically the US has the highest number of casualties from guns but has the most lax rules about gun ownership compared to all other Western nations. Prayers won’t change anything, but that’s all that Washington is offering. Restoring the assault rifle ban is a better place to start.

    • Eric H says:

      And yet, if you look at the FBI crime statistics, the amount of people killed by rifles of any type (as well as all firearms) has been steadily decreasing even though more guns are in circulation. The DOJ and FBI have published multiple reports stating that the AWB and its subsequent non-renewal had a negligible effect on homicides, mass shootings, and overall crime. Only difference is that there are more media outlets talking about said shootings, giving the impression that there are more.

      • Pedro says:

        Lies. Half of all mass shootings of all time happened after 2005. Any fool can see how more frequent they have become.

      • Marty Ross says:

        True but no one will admit it. Focusing on the inanimate object is the only way to blame straight Christians for a gay Muslim’s actions.

  4. Will we heed his warning about growing up? I wish I felt more positive that we would.

  5. Jerri says:

    I’ve also seen people saying gun control laws won’t work because “France has strict gun control laws and still people got shot up”, however, shootings don’t happen in France as often as they do in US. Face it, America has a gun problem and it’s getting bigger. The AR-15 has no place in a civilian’s arsenal.

  6. Adam says:

    Guns are definitely a problem when in the span of one weekend a 22 year old singer Christina Grimmie can be shot and killed and then not that far away 49 people can be shot and killed in a nightclub.

  7. Normandy says:

    Why is the USA such a gun culture? The bottom line is profits. Unless every single one of these bullets and guns were stolen directly from the manufacturers, somewhere along the way they made money off of them. The gun lobby is powerful because money talks.

    • M3rc_Nate says:

      America is a gun culture because the country was founded on guns. How did we carve out this country/colony from the bow & arrow using natives? Guns. How did we defend and create this country from the British in the Revolutionary War? Guns. When writing the Constitution and such what did we make our second amendment? Then what happened when we went out West to explore and settle more of this country? The wild west, needing guns to do everything including the intercontinental railway and more.
      .
      This country was founded on guns because other countries were founded before guns were invented.

      • KCC says:

        Guns are not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights. When “the right to bear arms” was added to the Bill of Rights, a cannon was a weapon of mass destruction and all guns were single shot weapons. If the shooter went into that night club with a flintlock there’s a good chance no one would have died.
        Few people recite the entire 2nd amendment:
        “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
        Keep in mind this was written before the US was spending almost $600 billion a year on defense. At the time, militias were a necessary part of national defense because there was no need for a large full time army. That is not true today.
        Your argument about using guns in the genocide and de facto imprisonment of Native Americans on reservations is hardly something to be proud of.
        This argument is not about what this country was built on over 200 years ago but how to sustain it going forward. When a single person can murder or injury over 100 people we are failing to live up to the preamble of the Constitution:
        “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
        Will banning automatic weapons help “insure domestic tranquility” and “promote general welfare?” I think so. In the hands of civilians, they are not helping in attaining any of the other goals set out in the Constitution.

        • Eric H says:

          You’re combining the terms of automatic and semi-automatic, when they mean totally different things and they are regulated accordingly to different bills passed over the years by Congress. Automatic weapons, which are guns that require one trigger pull to fire multiple rounds, are not the same as semi-automatics, which are guns that fire one bullet for every trigger pull. Automatics have been highly regulated since the 1930s and aren’t available for sale to civilians unless going through extensive background checks and they have lots of money (typically over $10K) to spend on only one weapon. Semi-automatic rifles are regulated the same way as handguns because they are single-shot per trigger pull civilian weapon, not the so-called “weapons of war” that our military uses.

          • Pedro says:

            Well, a gun that shoots 45 bullets per minute is a weapon of war and has no place in civilian life. Are you going to hunt with that? What will be left of the animal? Are you going to keep an AR15 in your night stand and shoot 100 bullets through your home and possibly kill family if a burglar breaks in?

  8. While I don’t oppose reasonable gun control legislation, especially on automatic/semi-automatic weapons, I don’t think that it will really solve the problem. People that want to commit these acts of terror will find a way. The police found a bomb at the guy’s house that committed the shootings yesterday, so he could’ve just used that instead of the gun. Also, I feel like gun control laws will only affect the law abiding citizens, not the criminals and mass murderers.

    My problem with this whole incident (besides the senseless loss of life) is that the media and people on most of these comment boards are ignoring the radical Muslim aspect of this crime. While Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace, the Arab countries of the Middle East (including the supposedly progressive UAE) have laws that punish people for simply being gay (gay people can be put to death) and oppress women. Just today, CNN posted a story on how a woman in Qatar was sentenced to several months in jail for reporting her rape and a similar situation happened last year in the UAE. In Saudi Arabia (our ally), women are not allowed to drive vehicles.

    While this particular gunman was not an immigrant himself, his parents were (his father hosted an Anti-American radio show), and it seems that those anti-gay and anti-women’s rights sentiments come with the Muslims that immigrate to the US. For a country that is so worried about equal rights for everyone, I’m surprised that our media and many “liberals” (for lack of a better term) stand up for a religion that suppresses the rights of so many people. I think that is an issue that needs to be discussed along with gun control.

    • Pedro says:

      I guess they’ll find a way. But we don’t have to go out of our way to make it super easy and convenient,

      If someone on FBI watch-list who was also a wife-beater can legally purchase an assault weapon and ammunition and carry it around, something is very wrong.

    • Shaun says:

      pretty much impossible to nail down where they learn such hate,but the cops try.Assault weapons need to be shut down in civilian circles.A pistol is plenty.

    • Mary says:

      Many who immigrates to the US does not want their way of life, hence coming to a Country that is acceptable of all. The religion itself is not the reason it is the extremist that all religion has. How many domestic mass murders have we had in the US and not done by Muslims. You talk about suppresses the rights of so many the Catholic religion does the same thing. An example the attacks on Planned Parenthood. Will gun control solve all problems maybe not, but there is no reason that someone needs an assault weapon who can wipe out mass number of people within minutes. Us liberals see that nothing will change is everything stays the same. I believe there is compromise on both sides. Last I know America was a free Country and I for one won’t let extremist win. It is not logical or realistic to lock America up away from the rest of the world – no matter what some of the fearful think.

  9. dq18 says:

    Hey, I know…what if we just made murder illegal. Certainly then this wouldn’t be a problem – right?

  10. Walkie says:

    How can anyone possibly defend having automatic weapons in the general population? It’s so sad that we can even come to a logical common ground on that.

    So should we all be allowed to have rocket launchers and tanks? Military weapons have their place. It’s not in my next door neighbors house.

    This country is being held hostage by gun nuts. The rest of the democratic world looks at us and shakes their head.

    • Lily says:

      AMEN! The Truth!

    • Eric H says:

      Except he didn’t have access to automatic weapons since those are highly regulated (thanks to gun laws enacted in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1980s) and aren’t what’s sold to civilians in gun stores and between private sellers. The weapons he used (his rifle and pistol) are semi-automatic weapons that fire one round per trigger pull and are only fired as fast the the trigger can be pulled and reloaded with a full magazine (which takes under 2 seconds for both.) The basic weapons being sold are no more dangerous than the common weapons being sold back in previous decades. I believe people, not the guns, are more dangerous because people no longer seem to have the proper anger management, problem solving skills, and mental health help to defuse situations, which results in quick, irrational behavior that’s showing up in all these mass killings.

      • Pedro says:

        If people are so dangerous, they need much stronger background checks and not have access to semi-automatic guns.

  11. BeeBop says:

    As long as the NRA continues to fund so many politicians campaigns and the gun lobby continues to shout in the ears of the people nothing will change. A nation who is so afraid of other people they feel the need to arms themselves with weapons of this nature needs to take a good look at itself in the mirror. Have a handgun – have a rifle – lose the machine guns. But really if the killing of all those children in Sandy Hook couldn’t melt the hard hearts of the gun lovers certainly this won’t do a thing either. I wonder if their own children were in that school or night club if it would even matter – love the guns more than human life.

    • Eric H says:

      Guess what? Machine guns are heavily regulated and aren’t allowed to transferred or owned by private citizens unless they go through massive background checks, have periodic checks-ins by different law enforcement agencies, and have lots of money to spend only one weapon. The guns used by almost every mass shooter have been semi-automatics (fire one bullet per trigger pull) and aren’t what you could consider machine guns. All the emotions and exaggerations in the world can’t change that fact.

      • Pedro says:

        The fact is that a terrorist three times investigated by the FBI, with record of domestic abuse and complaints registered by co-workers declaring he would say to anyone who wanted to hear he’d get a gun and shoot women, gays and Blacks was able to legally buy an AR!5 with no hassle.

        That is the fact.

        Laws need severe changes.

  12. henry baker says:

    ok so let me ask all of you who has a gun of some sort that has made a comment after conan comments

  13. Rhoda Goodman says:

    Time to get rid of all the Blankin guns in our society. ALL

  14. Kelly Gideon says:

    I do not understand why anyone needs an assault gu. For hunting? I dont think so. An assault gun is meant for time of war, not in your evreyday house Please for common sense outlaw these terrible,unneeded guns

    • Marty Ross says:

      Ah, you DO realize that theAR15 is he most popular, widely sold and used hunting rifle in America, and that the vast majority of owners (who you insist on insulting) are combat veterans, don’t you? Seems that such an expert as youself would know that…

  15. furba11 says:

    Ah, the NRA shills are out in force aren’t they with their bully boy tactics? We fully expect these NRA shills to continue to spew hatred and vile comments and intimidate us, but it’s time to make a stand.
    Many of us non-NRA-ers believe it’s the proliferation and ease of access to guns, especially assault weapons, that we need to seriously deal with and remove once and for all. Rather than creating “security” by suggesting we would be safer if we were all armed, like in the days of the Wild West, the NRA has actually perpetrated a massive “insecurity” on us all. The abundance and easy availability of instruments of carnage has instead turned us all into sitting ducks.
    Guns are a toxic epidemic that threatens all of us. When will we wake up and decide to get the guns out of our society? We can, it is possible, just as it’s possible to eradicate a disease. Our gun laws, or lack of, or lack of enforcement are all ineffective. Our craven politicians who take donations (read bribes) from the NRA, and especially the NRA are complicit in these deaths. Shame on you congress. Shame on you NRA. Shame on the gun manufacturers profiting from death and making guns so easily available.
    Mass shootings show that there’s nothing one can do when caught unawares. Whether you are armed or not. So-called gun-lovers froth and hiss about protecting “gun freedom” while callously turning a blind eye to the school children who were caught unawares and had their heads exploded like melons. More misery and more death is visited upon innocents and their families because of guns; Sandy Hook, Pulse (the club in Florida), the list goes on …
    The 2nd amendment for many of us is wrongly interpreted and an anachronism harking back to colonial days. It is not sacrosanct; it is just an amendment – it needs further amending, or better, repealing. No one is coming to invade the US; we don’t need a militia. We are instead being decimated from within by the NRA. They are clever con artists, the NRA. They have perpetrated arguments like “it’s not guns that kill people …” etc. that almost sounds authentic and logical. But they have artfully framed that equation to intimidate us and diminish the fact that guns are instruments designed and made for killing and death. The gun-fetish they have spawned has become a national sickness. Yes, the guy who murdered the people in Florida was mentally deranged, but many mass shootings have been perpetrated by white nutcases who preyed on victims and caught them unawares. Because they had easy access to assault weapons. If the NRA’s answer is to arm us all, that is madness. We will all still be sitting ducks.
    So NRA shills, you are knowingly contributing to more death and misery. Give the guns up – please. You may cry that you are law abiding citizens and “why should our guns be taken away.”? As if you are being inconvenienced in some way. I wonder how you might feel after viewing 50 dead, mangled, and eviscerated bodies. Being dead is very inconvenient. Want to be safe in your home? You’ll be better off with a security system so that your three-year-old doesn’t shoot you instead.

  16. Leslee Browning says:

    I totally agree with Conan O’Brien about assault weapons! Thank you for expressing what most of America believes! We need to elect officials who will make the changes that need to be made!

  17. Derwin says:

    we need him as much is the military and police do. to protect ourselves and our families from a tyrannical government and from terrorist and criminal’s. Regardless watch you Lowlife Liberals think.

  18. When will the people who commit crimes be blamed for these terrible acts instead of blaming the instruments. Maybe we should ban the internet and computers, it seems this is a common link between all of hese idiots committing the violence. They get information, inspiration, instruction and social exposure from it. Maybe its the real problem, or maybe we need to do something about people who are a threat before they act!!! The FBI questioned this guy two different times????? Most every shooter had some documented issues before their act violence.
    How about trying to Identify the idiots. That seems easier than trying to keep someone from getting a weapon they can kill 10, 20, 50 people with.