“These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but I can promise you they won’t be my last.”
US comic Amy Schumer has drawn outrage from conservative commentators after taking a strong stance against gun violence.
On July 23, a gunman opened fire on cinema-goers in Louisiana during a screening of Schumer’s film Trainwreck.
The massacre left two women dead.
Schumer, 34, appeared overnight at a press conference with her cousin, New York Democratic politician Chuck Schumer, to make a statement about gun control. And while her powerful words had many liberal fans cheering, they drew harsh criticism from some groups in the US, where the gun lobby remains immensely powerful.
Watch Amy Schumer’s speech (post continues after video):
The two Schumers appeared at the press conference flanked with anti-gun signage.
“Two lives were tragically lost and others injured, and I’ve thought about these victims each day since the tragedy,” a visibly emotional Amy Schumer told media at the press conference.
“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,” she continued.
“I was heartbroken when I heard about [the school shooting at] Columbine, and Sandy Hook and Aurora, and so many other names of places that are seared into our memories,” she continued. “And I was heartbroken again when I heard about Lafayette and I still am.”
Schumer appeared to be on the verge of tears as she spoke about this issue she holds dear to her heart.
“We will never know why people chose to do these awful 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. And today’s push makes so much sense because it seeks to address the how,” she continued.
“The time is now for American people to rally for these changes.
“These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence but I can promise you they won’t be my last.”
According to Fairfax Media, Schumer was urged to take a stance on gun violence by the relative of a person killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012.
“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,” the Twitter user wrote.
To that, Schumer replied: “Don’t worry, I’m on it.”
The comic’s powerful statement has already attracted controversy in the US, with some Twitter critics slamming her as “stupid” and “dumb.” Some told her to keep her politics out of the public sphere, while others declared they would unfollow her after the speech.
Some of the abusive Twitter responses (post continues after gallery):
The US has more gun-related killings than any other developed country. There is a violent event that can be described as a ‘mass shooting’ in America every two weeks, and the number of gun-related killings in America is 30 times that in Australia.
Strangely though, when massacres like this happen in the US, support for gun rights actually goes up, and support for gun control goes down.
After the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Australia, the Australian Government conducted an unprecedented gun buyback scheme that was popularly supported. Both gun homicides and gun suicides declined sharply, and we haven’t had a mass shooting on that scale since.
But gun violence remains rife in the US. And unless more public figures and politicians take a stand on this important issue, it’s inevitable that more innocent people will die needlessly.
That’s why today, we applaud Amy Schumer for her powerful words on gun control.
Are you an Amy Schumer fan?