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Chris Rock: 'You should have a mortgage to buy a gun'

Stephane Reix / EPA file

Chris Rock

PASADENA, Calif. -- Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal may now be calling for background checks to buy ammunition, but comedian Chris Rock was way ahead of the lawmaker on this topic.

Rock's 1999 HBO special "Bigger and Blacker" featured the now famous joke about charging $5,000 a bullet to reduce gun violence. And while at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour Wednesday to promote "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell," an FX comedy show he executive produces, the comedian discussed the topic of gun control again.

When asked if he thought Blumenthal was taking the point from his joke, Rock replied in the negative. "No! I wrote a joke, it was pretty funny," he told reporters. But then he got a bit more serious.

"The gun lobby always says people need the right to protect their property. But ... every mass shooting is done by a guy who lives with his mother," he said.

While Rock's argument isn't to be taken literally, he explained his point, saying, "I honestly believe you should have a mortgage to buy a gun. No one with a mortgage has ever gone on a killing spree. ... That’s a serious thought! A mortgage is a real background check. They don’t just give mortgages out, you know! If you go to jail for 30 years, you still have to pay your (expletive) mortgage."

Bell, who also participated in the panel, pointed out that one of the beauties of comedy is that it makes difficult topics easier to discuss. "Like, Chris’ joke about ammunition being ... a bullet being $5,000 instantly makes the gun debate easier to talk about," he said. "Sometimes (comics') jokes can predict the future or point the way toward the future. It doesn’t mean the comic is trying to do that, it just means … the comic is always looking for the angle nobody else has."

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