“These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but I can promise you they will not be my last,” Amy Schumer vowed Monday.
The actress-comedian had been invited to join her cousin, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), at a press conference in Manhattan to throw her support behind a gun-control bill he is sponsoring that aims to strengthen background checks. “Schumer & Schumer: ‘Enough is Enough,’” the announcement was billed.
Amy Schumer’s gun-control remarks came just over a week after John Russell Houser opened fire at a screening of her film Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana, leaving two dead before committing suicide.
“I've thought about these victims each day since the tragedy,” Schumer said at the press conference Monday, holding back tears. “Unless something is done and done soon, dangerous people will continue to get their hands on guns. We know what can happen when they do. I was heartbroken when I heard about Columbine, and Sandy Hook, and Aurora, and so many other names of places that are seared into our memories. And I was heartbroken, again, when I heard about Lafayette—I still am.”
Over the weekend, Schumer responded to an open letter by Sarah Clements, founder of the Junior Newtown Action Alliance and daughter of a survivor of the Sandy Hook massacre. “I know deep down that the tweet you sent after the shooting was not all that you’ve got,” Clements wrote. “Be a voice for our generation and for women—two groups who make up most of the victims of the gun violence in our country.”
“Don’t worry I’m on it. You’ll see,” Schumer tweeted Saturday.
The extent of the star’s dedication to the issue has yet to be seen, but gun-control groups are eager to get Schumer involved.
“I am happy she has stepped up to voice her concern,” Po Murray, chair of the Newtown Action Alliance, told The Daily Beast. “We would certainly love to reach out to Amy Schumer to participate.”
Murray said the NAA is planning to contact Schumer’s representatives to see if she would like to attend the group’s next annual vigil, which “brings in families of victims and survivors [of gun violence] from all over the United States” to Washington, D.C. (Celebrities are typically invited to attend these vigils; in 2013, singer-songwriter Carole King sang a hymn.)
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a campaign of Everytown for Gun Safety, which is funded by Michael Bloomberg, also wants to get Schumer on board.
“We’ve reached out to Amy Schumer and we’re hopeful that she will join us in the near future,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in an email. “Amy is smart, talented, and has a devoted following of Americans—having her voice in this debate is hugely important. And we hope other entertainers will follow her lead.”
According to Watts, the Moms were “ecstatic” that Schumer responded to Clements’s open letter, though the star has yet to respond to the Moms. “All of us now have Amy’s back,” she said.
Although there is no word yet on whether the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is in communication with Schumer, Judd Apatow, who directed Trainwreck and is similarly passionate about pushing for tougher gun laws, is fairly tight with the organization. Earlier this year, he headlined one of its gun-violence prevention benefits in Los Angeles.
“As far as I know, [Schumer] has not reached out to us,” a Brady Campaign spokesman said.
Schumer’s publicist did not respond to a request for comment. But when Schumer spoke to reporters Monday, she said she is anticipating a backlash for speaking out.
“I’ll handle it the way I’ve handled it the last 10 years,” she said. “I’ve had death threats and a lot of hate directed toward me. But I want to be proud of the way I’m living and what I stand for.”