U.S. actress and comedian Amy Schumer has teamed up with her cousin, Senator Charles Schumer, to call for stricter gun control laws.
Schumer said Monday she was "completely devastated" when she heard about the recent shooting at a Lafayette, Louisiana screening of her latest movie Trainwreck in which two people died.
Schumer joined her senator cousin in New York Monday as he unveiled proposed legislation that would make it harder for violent criminals and the mentally ill to obtain guns.
"If there is anything that the mass shooting in Lafayette, Chattanooga, Charleston, Virginia Tech, Aurora and many other places has taught us, it's that we should do everything in our power to tighten these loopholes and prevent weapons from falling into the hands of hateful evil-doers and the mentally disturbed," Senator Schumer said.
Schumer's proposed legislation would also reward states that submit information into a background check system and penalize states that do not.
'Shootings Have Got to Stop'
Amy Schumer said at Monday's press conference, "These shootings have got to stop. I don't know how else to say it." She said the shooting at her movie Trainwreck made the issue of gun violence "extremely personal" and said she has thought about the victims each day since the tragedy.
"Preventing dangerous people from getting guns is very possible. We have common sense solutions. We can toughen background checks and stop the sale of firearms to folks who have violent history or a history of mental illness. We can invest more in treating mental illness instead of slashing funding. These are not extreme ideas," Schumer said.
After the shooting in Lafayette, gun-control advocate Sarah Clements wrote an open letter to the actress calling on her to take a stand on the issue. Schumer tweeted "Don't worry; I'm on it. You'll see."
Senator Schumer said his cousin Amy is a perfect spokesperson for the issue of gun control and said he is grateful to have her collaboration. He said in addition to his proposed legislation, he will also call on Congress to preserve mental health funding and substance abuse programs.
The gunman who opened fire in the Lafayette movie theater last month is said to have had a long history of serious anger issues and mental illness.
Police said 59-year-old John Russel Houser legally bought the .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun from a pawn shop which he used to kill two young women and wound nine other people.
About 100 people were in the theater watching the film Trainwreck when the gunman began shooting his fellow movie goers with a handgun.
Two years ago, the U.S. Congress rejected an effort to strengthen gun-control laws. The proposed measure would have expanded background checks on potential gun buyers, strengthened a ban on military-style assault weapons and limited ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
The Senate action came after months of national debate on the issue in the wake of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children were killed.