"I'm at a place in my life where I want to do everything I can to make sure I'm responsible," Handler says
Chelsea Handler does not mince words when it comes to trying to prevent gun violence.
While receiving the 2017 Brady Center Bear Award for her advocacy against gun violence Wednesday night, Handler advised the audience gathered at the intimate Los Angeles event to get over their “f—–” fatigue and take responsibility for the future.
“I’m at a place in my life where I want to do everything I can to make sure I’m responsible,” Handler said of the reasons behind her outspoken advocacy. “I don’t ever want to look back at this time and think, ‘Why the f— was I sitting there on my bed? Why didn’t I do anything?’ “
The comedian, who was presented the Brady Center honor by her friend January Jones, said that her advocacy against gun violence gives her the added pleasure of “bitching and moaning” for good reason.
“I’m not married, I don’t have kids, because I’m smart, I don’t owe anybody anything,” she joked. “Finally I’m at a place in my life where I can stop bitching and moaning for myself and I can start bitching and moaning for other people. I feel really good about that, I do.”
Kristen Stewart was also present at the event — the goal of which was to raise funds to continue to prevent gun violence and reduce the number of gun deaths by half in 2025 — where she served as both a co-chair and presenter. Brady Center president Dan Gross told PEOPLE that although Stewart’s involvement is relatively new, he is impressed with what the actress has brought to the table thus far.
“She came to us because she has something she wants to do with this issue,” Gross said. “She eagerly shared her idea and without hesitation and is showing up tonight. She is committed to actually doing something, not just lending her name.”
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While Stewart and Gross didn’t divulge many details about what the actress’s big idea involves, she did hint at its inspiration: classic American depictions of our fascination with guns.
“I was infatuated with a few classic Americana images that were a little skewed and maybe not as beautiful or as comforting as they might seem on the surface,” Stewart explained. “One of them involved the shattering of the idea that it’s cool to play with toy guns and little kids grow up thinking that’s going to protect and empower them. We kind of take that idea and go, ‘Actually this is something else that could happen,’ and that needs to be considered by people who might not think about that kind of thing.”
The event also featured moving testimonials from three survivors of the tragic shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, and a mother who lost her 2-year-old son to a fatal accident involving his father’s gun kept at his home. Other celebrities in attendance included: January Jones, who presented Handler with her award, Will Ferrell and his wife Viveca, who served as the evening’s auctioneer, Voice champ Alisan Porter, who also performed, and Tom Arnold.