BY: KAROUN CHAHINIAN
Comedian Amy Schumer is being recognized for more than her blunt sense of humour after she delivered a powerful speech on America’s gun control problem.
On July 23rd, John Russell Houser, a 58-year-old man with a history of mental illness, opened fire during one screening of Schumer’s new film Trainwreck at The Grand Theatre in Louisiana. According to the Lafayette Chief of Police, nine were injured and three were killed, including Houser, who was found dead due to a self-inflicted wound.
My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) July 24, 2015
Schumer expressed her grief over twitter by saying, “My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.” While most responses to her tweet were positive, some pled for Schumer to do more than just comment on the tragedy and instead take a stand. One response that went viral was an open letter written by Sarah Clements, the daughter of a Sandy Hook shooting survivor, who is pleading for the young comic to be a leader in the gun control movement. Schumer wasn’t bluffing when she responded “Don’t worry I’m on it”, because shortly after, she and Senator Chuck Schumer, the comic’s cousin, held a press conference to unveil a new legislation to combat gun violence.
“I’m not sure why this man chose my movie to end those two lives and injure nine others, but it was very personal for me,” Schumer said in the New York conference on August 3rd. “We always find out how the shooters got their guns and it’s always something that never should have happened in the first place.”
The Schumers outlined a three-part gun control plan where states must submit criminal records in order to be able to perform background checks before selling guns. The states that do not provide the information will be penalized. The legislation would also fund the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“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,” Schumer told reporters. “The critics scoff and say, ‘Well, there’s no way to stop crazy people from doing crazy things,’ but they’re wrong.”
While delivering her powerful speech, Schumer became emotional and refused to say the name of the shooter. Instead of discussing how devastating the shooting was, she focused on how to stop similar tragedies in the future and promised the public that this wouldn’t be her last time speaking on the topic.
“Preventing dangerous people from getting guns is very possible,” the actress added, before promising she would continue fighting for this cause. “These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but I promise you they will not be my last.”
Watch the rest of her speech below: