Hollywood Filmmakers Call For Attention on ‘Gun Safety’ in Movies

Hollywood Filmmakers Call For Attention on ‘Gun Safety’ in Movies

Top Hollywood creators are pushing a new petition related to the handling of guns on the screen.

Following the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and elsewhere, the discourse resembles the debates that have followed most mass shootings for the last thirty years. Some have blamed guns for the tragedies, while others have blamed violent movies and video games. 

On Monday, the Hollywood trades reported that top Hollywood creators are pushing a new petition related to the handling of guns on the screen. However, the signatories are clear that they don’t see their effort as a substitute for gun safety legislation itself. 

The petition is called an “Open Letter to Our Colleagues in the Creative Community,” as reported by Indiewire, and it was organized by Christy Callahan, the co-chair of the Brady United Against Gun Violence organization’s Regional Leadership Council, and Disney family member Robert Bowers Disney.

“As America’s storytellers, our goal is primarily to entertain, but we also acknowledge that stories have the power to effect change. Cultural attitudes toward smoking, drunk driving, seatbelts, and marriage equality have all evolved due in large part to movies and TV’s influence. It’s time to take on gun safety,” the text says. “We are not asking anyone to stop showing guns on screen. We are asking writers, directors and producers to be mindful of on-screen gun violence and model gun safety best practices. Let’s use our collective power for good.”

The Hollywood newsletter The Ankler reported on the first signatories: Judd Apatow, Debbie Allen, Marty Bowen, R.J. Cutler, Dana Fox, Dede Gardner, Todd Garner, John Glickman, Wyck Godfrey, Grant Heslov, Jimmy Kimmel, Simon Kinberg, Damon Lindelof, Adam McKay, Hannah Minghella, Julianne Moore, Sue Naegle, Marti Noxon, Billy Ray, Shonda Rhimes, Gary Ross, Eli Roth, Mark Ruffalo, Amy Schumer, Veena Sud, Irwin Winkler, and Nicole Sorkin. 

The letter can be signed by others, here. “We didn't create the gun violence crisis--the politicians that allow unfettered access to guns did. But it says a lot about your character that you're willing to help fix it,” the website for the petition says. 

The talk of gun safety in Hollywood may also be associated with the “Rust” shooting last October, in which actor and producer Alec Baldwin was holding a gun when it fired and killed the film’s cinematographer, Helyna Hutchins.

Over the weekend, a group of twenty U.S. senators, ten each from each party, announced that they had reached an agreement on a framework for gun reform legislation. If passed, it would be the first major gun reform legislation since the early 1990s. 

“Today, we are announcing a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country,” the other senators involved in the talks said in a joint statement. “Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities,” the announcement read.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters