Amy Schumer is seriously funny, but when she’s at her best, she gets serious. This morning, Schumer premiered a clip poking fun at a very serious subject: gun loopholes.
The clip, which debuted on Entertainment Weekly's website, takes aim at lax laws around firearm sales by unlicensed dealers. Schumer plays the host of a fake infomercial presenting a handgun as a "special deal" available via loopholes.
“Here is what’s great about this — now, pretty much anyone can purchase this!” Schumer says, shilling the gun as her co-host plays around with the firearm.
“Oh no, I could never get a gun, I have several violent felonies,” responds someone calling in on the "show."
“Caller, you bite your tongue, you silly goose! You can absolutely get a gun!” Schumer laughs.
The policies mocked by Schumer are known as the gun show and internet loopholes. Though federal law requires all licensed sellers of firearms to conduct a background check, it doesn’t make the same requirement of private sellers. Federal law prohibits a private sale if the seller has reason to believe that the buyer couldn’t pass a background check (meaning that, yes, technically once the "caller" said he had violent felonies, the sale became illegal), but it makes no requirement that a seller does anything to verify that a buyer can pass a check. These sort of private sales frequently happen at gun shows or online, gun control advocates say.
Schumer’s personal history with gun violence has made her an active advocate for gun safety. In 2015, a man opened fire in a Louisiana theater during a showing of her film Trainwreck, killing two women. Schumer was distraught in the aftermath, tweeting, “My heart is broken” and promising to be an advocate against gun violence.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the advocacy group she partnered with to create the sketch, said that the performer was heavily involved in the writing of the sketch and wanted to make sure it was as accurate as possible.
For example, in an early version of the sketch, the gun that Schumer’s character unveils was an assault rifle.
“Amy asked a question,” Jason Rzepka, the director of cultural engagement at Everytown, told Refinery29 by phone. “She said, ‘Well, what percentage of gun deaths are long guns responsible for?’ I went to our research team, and we found that it was actually less than 10%. The large majority, actually 90% of gun deaths in America, are the result of handguns. So, that was a shift in emphasis.”
It's not Schumer's first time using humor to tackle an issue she cares about. An Inside Amy Schumer sketch from 2015 made fun of the difficulty in accessing contraceptive care as compared to guns.
"She has been so giving with her voice and her platform, and then to take it to the next level [is great], said Rzepka. "Amy has been so vocal and so transformative in creating space for others to step behind her and advocate on behalf of this work."