NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two weeks after a gunman killed two women in a Louisiana screening of the movie "Trainwreck," the film's screenwriter and star, Amy Schumer, joined her cousin U.S. Senator Charles Schumer on Monday in calling for increased gun control.
The pair's joint appearance in New York marked the first time Amy Schumer has spoken out about gun violence since police say John Houser killed two women and then himself at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater on July 23, using a gun he was able to purchase legally even though a 2008 court order sent him to a mental health facility.
Federal law prohibits the purchase of guns by anyone who has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, but it does not ban gun purchases by someone who has volunteered for treatment or successfully argued against commitment.
Amy Schumer called on Monday for a more thorough background check system as she shared details about the lives of shooting victims Jillian Johnson, 33, and Mayci Breaux, 21.
"My heart goes out to Jillian and Mayci, to the survivors, to the families and everyone who was tied to the tragic, senseless and horrifying actions of this man who shouldn’t have been able to put his hands on a gun in the first place," Amy Schumer said during the news conference.
"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 said.
Senator Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he is introducing legislation that will reward states for submitting all necessary records to the background check system and punish those that do not.
The pair also urged Congress to provide full federal funding to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which faces a proposed 4.4 percent cut of $159 million. They also asked the Department of Justice to publish a report comparing state standards for involuntary commitment.
Amy Schumer's comments followed calls by fans of the actor to use her celebrity and influence to take a stand against gun violence.
"The time is now for the American people to rally for these changes," she said. "These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but I can promise you they will not be my last."
Reporting by Katie Reilly; Editing by Scott Malone and Eric Beech