Stephen Colbert interviewed Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on last night’s premiere of The Late Show, but the question on gun policy didn’t make the final cut.
“President Obama has said that the greatest frustration of his presidency is the lack of movement on gun control legislation. Most of the country favors a system of prudent checks, even so a well-organized minority has stymied all progress and almost weekly we see the deadly consequences. How do you square this with real democracy and what are you prepared to do about it?” Colbert asked, a question posed by the winner of a raffle.
“So in Florida, where I was governor, we have a requirement of background checks, a 72-hour waiting period. We’re not violating any Second Amendment rights. In fact, Florida would be considered a Second Amendment, pro-gun state. Gun violence is way down, but we have simple checks to make sure people are not accessing guns. And I think the next step is to figure out ways to make sure that we can know if people have mental health issues, which is really the common denominator of a lot of these violent, tragic cases where people aren’t getting access to mental health and we don’t even know if they have real issues,” Bush said.
“And if mental health checks are opposed by the NRA, how do you fight back?” Colbert asked.
“I think you do it by the state-by-state level. This is, this is the greatness of our country. Tell you what, Vermont is a lot different. Vermont actually is the most pro-gun state probably in the country believe it or not. New York City is a lot different than rural Florida and vice versa, so why would you want to impose national gun laws on top of every circumstance of this country,” Bush said.
“Well the right to an individual firearm to protect yourself is a national document — the Constitution — so should the way that be applied be national?” Colbert asked.
“No. Not necessarily,” Bush said and added, “The Bill of Rights has a tenth amendment, which is that powers are given to the states to create policy and the federal government is not the end all and be all. That’s an important value for this country and it’s a federalist system that works quite well.”