“These shootings have got to stop. I don’t know how else to say it,” stated funnywoman Amy Schumer in a decidedly more somber mood at a New York press conference on Monday. Joined at her side was New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the second cousin once removed from the Emmy nominated performer, Schumer was present to talk about gun control and to plead with Congress to move forward on stiffer firearm regulations in the aftermath of the tragic shooting that occurred in Lafayette, Louisiana, during a July 23rd performance of Schumer’s new comedy Trainwreck.
That tragedy resulted in the deaths of three moviegoers (including the gunman) and the injury of nine others. Notably, while emotionally eulogizing the slain victims during her emotional call for arms speech, Schumer refused to utter the name of the perpetrator. His name doesn’t really matter much but as the Lafayette case has started to unfold, more information about the suspect has become known. While he legally obtained a handgun at a Louisiana pawn shop in February 2014, the suspect had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and his wife and daughter sought protection out of fear for their lives at a previous point.
The measure that the Schumers proposed might lay the groundwork so it might become more difficult for people like the suspect in this case to legally obtain a gun. The strongest point in their argument was a firmer stance for background checks for firearm purchases and a measure to reward states that submit all required and relevant information to the federal government and punishes states that do not. Another key component to the Schumer’s plea to Congress was for them to fully fund the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. According to The New York Times, the Senate had previously proposed cutting that program by $159 million.
Senator Schumer has long stood for firmer gun control legislation and while Ms. Schumer is known mostly for her bawdy humor, the events that occurred during a screening of her film appear to have noticeably shaken her. At an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Schumer exclaimed she was, “legit heartbroken.” Yet for a performer who regularly (either on her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer or in the film Trainwreck) adds layers of topicality and an almost brutal social commentary to her cragt, the added role of activist may appear a natural fit.