On Monday the U.S. Senate held votes on four gun control-related amendments, following a filibuster by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. Republicans managed to derail all four, including one that would prohibit the sale of weapons to anyone on the terror watch list. Actress Amy Schumer is very unhappy that the Senate couldn’t step up and take even the small steps towards gun control called for in the legislation, and she is letting the world know about it.
Schumer, who is related to New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, added her voice to the gun debate last year, after a man opened fire in a Louisiana theater during a showing of her movie, Trainwreck. Following the most recent Senate votes, Schumer expressed her anger to Politico:
I am sickened by the cowardice of these people who are supposed to lead us. Their dedication seems to be only to dollar signs for their own pockets. In November, we will remember who stood with the gun lobby, rather than their constituents, as we mourned for Orlando.
In late April, the comedienne went after the gun lobby in a skit on her Comedy Central show about just how easy it is to get a gun in America. But left out of that sketch was a segment that Schumer’s publicist says was cut due to time constraints. In the wake of the Orlando murders, Schumer felt that people should see it, and she shared it on June 16.
The video appears to be one of the typical “Have you been injured in a [fill in the blank]? Then call our law firm” commercials that you see on TV every day. But this one has a twist. Lawyer Toby Shrak, played by Jon Benjamin, says,
Have you been injured in a mass shooting or other gun crime? Do you want justice? Hi, I’m Toby Shrak of the law firm of Shrak & Murphy, but don’t call me, because there’s nothing I can do.
The remainder of the two-minute-thirty-second “commercial” is dedicated to the absurdity of current U.S. gun laws, as actors playing victims of gun violence tell their stories, like this:
A coworker we laid off opened fire at my office with a semiautomatic weapon that the gun manufacturer had made incredibly easy to convert to a fully automatic machine gun. I am disabled for life, so I called Shrak and Murphy, and they told me I was shit out of luck.
That “testimonial” is followed by this:
I tried to sue the manufacturers of a hollow-tip bullet that was designed to inflict as much pain as possible, but current law makes it impossible to sue for damages. I even had to pay the ammo company’s legal costs.
But then we hear from someone involved in a mass shooting who was protected by the legal system — a school shooter, who says,
I was doing a school shooting when I slipped on the wet floor near the cafeteria. I sued the school district, and I won $500,000.
Schumer’s point is simple: there is no other industry in the United States that enjoys the same protections from liability lawsuits as the gun manufacturers. As the examples from the video point out, it’s not just that weapons manufacturers are protected from suits arising from the misuse of a legal product. It’s that they are protected even though in many cases they are complicit in aiding people to deliberately misuse their product. For example, as the actress in the video observes, you can buy devices such as a trigger which makes your AR-15 almost fully automatic. The internet is filled with YouTube videos and web pages that show you various devices and ways you can convert your semi-automatic weapon into one that fires at a much faster rate, or even make it fully automatic.
Politicians could easily pass laws that would toughen restrictions on weapons modifications, or on the maximum allowed size of magazines. But they won’t. Because in America, too many people believe that nothing — not even your children’s safety — nothing, is as important as your unrestricted right to own a weapon.
Here is Schumer’s video, via Comedy Central: