Hollywood Leaders Pen Pledge About On-Screen Gun Usage

Hollywood Leaders Pen Pledge About On-Screen Gun Usage

by Kenna McCafferty

The entertainment industry is taking a stance on gun control. A group of roughly 200 leading producers, directors and writers in the film and TV industry pledged to re-evaluate the use of guns in storytelling and to accurately portray gun safety practices in scripts.

Following the shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, an open letter initiated by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was drafted with signees so far including Judd Apatow, Debbie Allen, Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Lawrence, Adam McKay, Shonda Rhimes, Mark Ruffalo and Amy Schumer, among other industry leaders.

The pledge promises to show characters engaging in safe gun practices like locking them safely and making them inaccessible to children; having pre-production discussions about the way guns will be portrayed and considering alternatives to gun violence that wouldn’t sacrifice the narrative integrity; and limiting scenes combining children and guns “bearing in mind that guns are now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents” in the US.

The conversation around Hollywood’s effect on real-world gun violence has long been brewing. Most recently, Matthew McConaughey, a Uvalde native, weighed in on a newly proposed bi-partisan framework to address gun violence.

Recalling a conversation with an unnamed senator a week prior, McConaghey shared some hope. "For the first time in 30 years, 'something' has happened," McConaughey said. "'Something' has been done in the effort to stop some of the deranged individuals that, with every horrific act, abuse and hijack the [S]econd [A]mendment. 'Something' has moved that we hope can deliver on our shared effort to make the loss of so many lives matter."

The anti-gun violence legislative framework reached by a group of senators Sunday aims to provide funding for mental health services and increased school safety measures, incentivize states to enact “red flag” laws allowing law enforcement to temporarily confiscate firearms from individuals presenting a danger to themselves or others and strengthen federal background check systems pertaining to individuals with domestic violence convictions and restraining orders.

Both the Hollywood pledge and the tentative framework come weeks after McConaughey spoke from the White House briefing room, urging “both sides” of the aisle to “see beyond the political problem at hand and admit that we have a life preservation problem on our hands.”

The impact of the recent shootings is undeniably far-reaching, motivating leaders across industries to push for a change. As for Hollywood, the open letter emphasizes the relationship between on-screen culture and real-life experiences.

"As America's storytellers, our goal is primarily to entertain,” part of the letter reads, “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.”

Photo via Getty/ Paul Weaver/ SOPA Images/ LightRocket