The Parkland, Flo. high school students advocating for gun control in the wake of a shooting at their school that left 17 dead suffered a legislative defeat on Tuesday, when the Florida State House rejected a motion to consider a bill to ban assault rifles. But their efforts to establish stricter U.S. laws have won the praise of late-night hosts, several of whom dedicated segments of their shows to the students on Tuesday night.
On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert said that the one group that gave him hope that “we can protect the children” in the wake of the tragedy was the children themselves. Citing inaction on gun control from legislators, Colbert said with a straight face, “I think we need to change the voting age. Until we do something about guns, you can’t vote if you’re over 18.”
Noting that students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school had been president at the Florida State House on Tuesday, Colbert added, “I hope these kids don’t give up. Because this is their lives, and their future. Someone else may be in power, but this country belongs to them. And there is reason for hope.” Citing the “Me Too” movement and how it brought down men in power, Colbert added, “This is an election year. If you want to see change you have to go to the polls and tell the people who will not protect you that their time is up.”
There’s only one group Stephen thinks can actually defend the kids. And it is… the kids. pic.twitter.com/p962tuW9sv
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) February 21, 2018
Over on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah described the reaction to the mass shooting in Parkland as “the same old story” of warring gun-control factions after the tragedy except for one thing: “Those meddling kids.”
After playing footage of Marjory Parkman students speaking on national TV, Noah said, “This also just goes to show how upside-down everything becomes when guns are involved. Right now, kids are acting like adults and adults are acting like children.”
Play-acting the roles of parents and children, Noah said, “Because you’ve got senators like, ‘You’re taking away my favorite toys! This is so unfair!’ And the kids are like, ‘You can’t have them if you’re not responsible enough to handle them.'”
Tonight at 11/10c, the gun debate sounds familiar in the wake of the Parkland shooting except for one thing: those meddling kids. pic.twitter.com/1NPveU4Wwu
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) February 21, 2018
A half-hour later, on The Opposition, Jordan Klepper invited two student gun-control advocates from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on his show.
Senior Delaney Tarr argued against the idea that the students wanted to infringe on Americans’ liberties with their call for stricter laws. “We’re not taking away your liberty, actually, and that’s something we’ve tried to make clear time and time again,” Tarr said. “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.”
When Klepper asked, playing the devil’s advocate, whether arming teachers might not be the answer instead of gun control, senior Carly Novell quipped, “That’s going to school in a prison and having teachers be your prison guards.”
This article originally appeared in THR.com.