Gina Mei
August 03, 2015 5:42 pm

On Monday, Amy Schumer took a public stand against gun violence, at a press conference in New York with her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer.  Together, they discussed proposed gun control reform that would restrict access to firearms for those with violent criminal records and/or a history of mental illness.

“We’re here today to say ‘enough is enough’ to mass shootings in our schools, our college campuses, our military bases, and even our movie theaters,” Amy Schumer began, according to The Huffington Post. “These shootings have got to stop. I don’t know how else to say it.”

The issue of gun violence became especially personal for Amy Schumer in light of last month’s tragic shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. A gunman opened fire during a showing of her film, Trainwreck — killing two, Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson, and injuring nine before turning the gun on himself. Schumer spoke out about the shooting via Twitter; and last week, after being tagged in a piece about gun violence, she tweeted, “Don’t worry I’m on it. You’ll see.”

“I’ve thought about these victims each day since the tragedy,” she said at the conference, according to ABC News. “People say, ‘Well, you’re never going to be able to stop crazy people from doing crazy things,’ but they’re wrong. There is a way to stop them.”

“I’m not sure why this man chose my movie to end these two beautiful lives and injure nine others but it was very personal for me,” she continued. “I got about a million emails from friends saying it could have been any movie. I’m trying to believe that, but I’m not sure. I think the idea of women’s equality making anyone upset is not anything I’ll ever understand.”

She also posted a photo of the press conference to Instagram.

According to Mashable, the proposed bill consists of three key steps. First, new legislation would provide financial incentives for states that report “all necessary records into the background check system,” while penalizing those that do not. Second, the bill requests that the Department of Justice compile data regarding individual states’ “standards for involuntary mental health commitment,” and provide a recommendation for steps moving forward. Finally, the plan emphasizes the importance of better funding from Congress for “mental health and substance abuse programs that provide treatment to those who need it most,” in particular for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Both Schumers were quick to clarify that the focus of the bill is less to do with “taking away people’s guns,” but instead with creating a more comprehensive background check system in order to keep guns out of the wrong hands. According to data gathered by The Guardian, the United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world — about 88 guns per 100 people. (Yemen has the next highest rate, at 54.8 guns per 100 people.)

Regardless of your personal feelings on gun ownership, it’s more important than ever that we discuss how we can put an end to these tragic shootings. In the past nine years alone, Mother Jones estimates at least 34 mass shootings have occurred in the United States — and in more than 75% of cases, the shooter’s firearm was obtained legally. The National Institute of Justice estimates that the majority of homicides in the U.S. are committed with firearms. According to a December poll from the Associated Press-GfK, 52% of Americans believe we need stricter gun control laws. It’s time that we at least begin a discussion as to why.

Amy Schumer’s remarks today were in hopes of helping to bring attention to an issue that has been swept under the rug for far too long. While she’s joked about gun control on her show, Inside Amy Schumer, before — in a sketch where a kid is able to obtain a gun more easily than a woman can get birth control — it’s obvious that this is an issue the comedian takes very seriously.

“These are my first public comments on gun violence,” Schumer said during the conference, according to Mic. “But they won’t be my last.”

(Image via Instagram.)

Related stories:

Yes, we’re still talking about gun violence

Why school shootings won’t change until we change

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