The comic and actor Amy Schumer will team up with US senator Charles Schumer to call for greater gun control in the wake of the fatal shootings of two women at a screening of her film Trainwreck last month.
Schumer will join the Democratic senator from New York, her cousin, as he unveils a three-part plan aimed at making it harder for violent criminals and mentally ill people to obtain firearms, according to the Associated Press . The proposed legislation would penalise states which fail to submit relevant records into a background check system while rewarding those who comply. The senator will also ask congress to retain funding for mental health and drug abuse programs.
Amy Schumer raised expectations that she could take an active role in female-fronted opposition to US gun rights on Saturday, after responding positively on Twitter to an open letter from a woman whose mother survived the Sandy Hook massacre three years ago. The comic has unexpectedly found herself caught up in the ongoing debate on gun violence in the US, after John Russell Houser shot 11 people at a cinema in Lafayette, Louisiana , during a screening of Trainwreck, on 23 July. Two women, Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson, died from their wounds before the killer turned the gun on himself.
In her letter to Schumer , Sarah Clements referenced media speculation that Houser may have specifically targeted the ribald comedy, due to a hatred of women . “A showing of your film – an honest, unapologetic celebration of women’s rights to our bodies, decisions, and independence – was the place a middle-aged man who, ‘opposed to women having a say in anything,’ chose to commit a mass shooting,” she wrote. “I know deep down that the tweet you sent after the shooting was not all that you’ve got. And we need your voice in this movement. We need your help.”
Schumer responded to a tweet highlighting Clement’s letter, writing: “Her name was Mayci, not Marci and I think about her and Jillian everyday. Don’t worry I’m on it. You’ll see.”
Schumer also tweeted to offer her condolences to relatives of the victims and describe herself as “heartbroken” in the wake of the killings. The 34-year-old comic has referenced the gun rights debate in the past, in her comedy show Inside Amy Schumer. In a satirical May 2015 sketch , she contrasted the ease with which gun owners can pick up a new weapon with the difficulties US women face obtaining birth-control medication.
Other Hollywood figures have also been vocal on both sides of the debate. James Bond and Hunger Games star Jeffrey Wright sarcastically attacked US Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry’s suggestion that the Trainwreck killings might have been prevented , if other cinemagoers had been allowed to carry guns. Meanwhile, Full Metal Jacket star and gun rights proponent Adam Baldwin has taken the opposite stance.