Sen. Charles Schumer, Comedian Amy Schumer Call For More Gun Control

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Stand-up comedian and actress Amy Schumer has teamed up with her cousin, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), to call for tighter gun control laws in an effort to stop mass shootings and gun violence.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, the initiative was prompted by a shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, while Amy Schumer’s movie “Trainwreck” was playing.

“When I heard about this news, I was completely devastated, and I just wanted to go down to Louisiana, and then I was angry,” Amy Schumer said.

A mentally disturbed man named John Hauser opened fire in the theater late last month, killing two people – Jillian Johnson and Maci Breau – and injuring nine others.

“We’ll never know why people choose to do these painful things, but sadly we always find out how — how the shooter got their gun and it’s often something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” she said. “And today’s push makes so much sense because it seeks to address the how.”

Amy Schumer fought back tears as she spoke about the shooting.

“The thought of this community being turned around and upside down by this just sickens me,” she said. “Unless something is done and done soon, dangerous people will continue to get their hands on guns — and we know what can happen when they do.”

Now, Amy Schumer has joined her cousin in the U.S. Senate, who is proposing legislation to improve background checks by requiring the states to send information they have about felons, spousal abusers and those judged mentally ill to the federal government — or face a fine.

The bill also calls on the federal government to find the best standards and practices on voluntary commitment, and fund the Substance Abuse and Health Service Administration.

“This subject is really serious and it’s just not getting enough traction in Congress,” the senator said.

Forty-percent of all guns sold in America have no background check because they’re either sold online or at gun shows, Sen. Schumer said.

“We must continue to fight for broader background check reform,” he said. “We should do everything in our power to tighten these loopholes.”

The senator also called on Congress to preserve mental health funding and substance abuse programs.

“For Congress to cut this funding when the country is in the midst of a gun violence epidemic is the equivalent of a shoulder shrug for the victims,” he said.

The National Rifle Association would not comment Monday on legislation it hasn’t seen, but in the past has traditionally opposed toughening the law.

“Let’s be honest — background checks will never be universal, because criminals will never submit to them,” Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said in late 2013.

Federal legislation failed after the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, after strong opposition from gun groups.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said at the time.

But Amy Schumer hopes this time is different.

“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,” said the actress, who plans to visit the victims’ families.

“The critics scoff and say, ‘Well, there’s no way to stop crazy people from doing crazy things,’ but they’re wrong. There is a way to stop them,” the actress said. “Preventing dangerous people from getting guns is very possible, we have common sense solutions.”

Amy Schumer is asking the public to rally around the proposal to limit gun access to the mentally disabled and felons.

“These shootings have got to stop,” she said. “The time is now for American people to rally for these changes.”

Meanwhile, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams launched a gun violence awareness campaign Monday to engage residents in serious conversation about the issue.

Adams wants to meet with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an effort to fund anti-violence initiatives in high-crime areas.

This all comes after police said at least 22 people were shot in 10 incidents across New York City since Friday.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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