Hollywood has long misrepresented guns and gun owners in their films. With the very vocal anti-Second Amendment attitude — stemming mainly from Hollywood and the mainstream media and heating up in recent years — don’t expect those misrepresentations to change anytime soon.
“Both shooters and non-shooters should be able to agree that gun deaths aren’t going to be lessened until gun myths are. Maybe a good place to start is Hollywood.”
Whether it’s depicting gun owners as crazed and violence-loving buffoons, or simply showing firearms as far more outrageous than they are, Hollywood has a lousy history with guns.
Filmmakers profit from over-the-top depictions of violence and gun-fueled cruelty, while at the same time lambasting gun culture every chance they get.
Take mega-producer Harvey Weinstein as a prime example. He has been responsible for violent classics such as “Sin City” and “Pulp Fiction.”
In 2014, he told Piers Morgan he no longer wanted to promote violence or guns through his films.
“I have to choose movies that aren’t violent or as violent as they used to be. I know for me personally, you know, I can’t continue to do that. The change starts here. It has already. For me, I can’t do it. I can’t make one movie and say this is what I want for my kids and then just go out and be a hypocrite.”
And yet he did just that.
In the same interview, Weinstein also announced an anti-NRA film starring Meryl Streep. Apparently, profits ended up being too tempting. The NRA film has yet to be made, and Weinstein has since produced Quentin Tarantino’s ultra-violent “The Hateful Eight.”
Another Hollywood example of this Hollywood hypocrisy would be Sylvester Stallone. After using films like “The Expendables” and “Rambo” as gun sales promotional videos, the filmmaker said during a press tour in 2013, “I know people get [upset] and go, ‘They’re going to take away the assault weapon.’ Who … needs an assault weapon? Like really, unless you’re carrying out an assault … You can’t hunt with it … Who’s going to attack your house, a [expletive] army?”
The comments came while promoting a film entitled “Bullet to the Head.”
Hollywood and the media can be caught red-handed easily enough in spreading falsehoods and broad generalizations in their disdain for guns.
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The hypocrisy is par for the course and expected of Hollywood artists. However, the dangerous game filmmakers (as well as the media) play in the gun debate is their constant push of ridiculous myths and stereotypes about gun owners and guns themselves.
Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and novelist Stephen Hunter, a gun owner and advocate himself, wrote about and highlighted the idea.
“What’s the point of banning certain categories of guns, if at the same time up on the screen the gun is identified as a potent symbol of masculine force, the key to a whole identity, and the man who uses it becomes the central figure in what amounts to a religion of force,” Bancroft Press, publisher of Hunter’s “Violent Screen,” quotes him as saying.
He added, “Certainly, for both gun haters and gun lovers, much of our neurotic energy toward guns comes from the movies (and, to a lesser extent, from TV). Both shooters and non-shooters should be able to agree that gun deaths aren’t going to be lessened until gun myths are. Maybe a good place to start is Hollywood.”
Hollywood and the media can be caught red-handed easily enough in spreading falsehoods and broad generalizations in their disdain for guns. Stallone calling an AR-15 an “assault weapon” is a proven misconception, yet one the media and Hollywood continues to ignore. Reporters Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have even recently found themselves in controversy after using deceptive editing and personal politics to paint gun owners and the AR-15 itself in bad light.
Add to that the Entertainment Industries Council’s “Firearm Depiction Tip Sheet.” With suggestions from groups including the Brady Campaign, the sheet works as a way to motivate Hollywood to portray guns and gun owners in a negative way. While some of the suggestions work to put attention on illegal gun use, some of the suggestions also work to paint an overall bad picture.
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“All genres of entertainment can and do impart information to their audiences, which in turn may influence real-life decisions and beliefs,” EIC notes of its motivation for the tip sheet.
However, it’s not all bad.
Some movies over the years have managed to be pro-gun. The 2014 breakout hit “American Sniper” depicted Navy Seal and gun advocate Chris Kyle using rifles and shooting ranges to help show how combat veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder — something the man bravely did in real life and a healing measure which is used by veterans to this day.
“Gran Torino,” directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, destroyed some of the stereotypes around guns and gun owners.
Protagonist Walt Kowalski was shown as a hardened war veteran with a collection of firearms, and he was always prepared to use them to defend both himself and others. In the end, however, he doesn’t need his firearms to solve a real problem plaguing his neighborhood and newfound family — gangs pushing illegal weapons and drugs and bullying law abiding citizens.
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Then there’s John Milius’ “Red Dawn,” an ’80s classic which depicts privately owned firearms as a means of self-defense for one’s home, whether it be a plot of land or an entire country.
Sadly, the films and media that fairly and appropriately portray guns and gun owners are few and far between.