Less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a Louisiana showing of her movie Trainwreck, comedian Amy Schumer appeared with her cousin — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — to call for stricter gun control.
John Russell Houser, 59, of Alabama killed Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33, at the Lafayette, La., theater and wounded nine others before taking his own life. Houser was reportedly able to buy his .40-caliber handgun despite a 2008 court-ordered mental evaluation for bipolar disorder and protective order issued at the same time to keep him from his family.
“These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence—I can promise you this: they will not be my last,” said Amy Schumer, who was wearing black for the press conference.
“I was heartbroken when I heard about Columbine, and Sandy Hook, and Aurora, and so many other names and places that are now seared into the American memory,” she continued. “I was heartbroken, again, when I heard about Lafayette. And I still am. We need a background check system without holes and fatal flaws. We need one with accurate information that protects us like a firewall should.”
“The critics scoff and say, ‘there is no way to stop crazy people from doing crazy things.’ They’re wrong. What Chuck is describing are sensible measures and restrictions. No one wants to live in a country where a felon, the mentally ill, or other dangerous people can get their hands on a gun with such ease. The time is now for the American people to rally for these changes.”
Sen. Schumer said “we should be do everything in our power to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of hateful evil-doers and the mentally ill .”
The senator is introducing legislation “that will incentivize states to submit all records into the federal gun database” and is asking the Justice Department to “conduct a study on involuntary commitment standards and provide recommendations to States on how to best prevent dangerous mentally ill people from obtaining a gun in the future.”
“Third, despite this rash of mass shootings, often executed by mentally-ill individuals, it is disconcerting that Congress has proposed a drastic $150 million dollar-plus cut in federal funding from critically-needed mental health services. Now is the worst possible time to be slashing funds from mental health programs that help treat people in-need, so, we are urging Congress to fully fund the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,” he said.
“Lastly, I acknowledge the right—enshrined in the Second Amendment and the Heller decision—of American citizens to purchase and bear arms, however, just as the First Amendment comes with responsibilities and limits to protect public safety, the Second Amendment does as well. We have to make sure that we as a country are safe and that everyone’s right are respected.”