Amy Schumer, Shonda Rhimes and Julianne Moore are among a group of more than 200 Hollywood creatives asking for a reconsideration of how guns are used on screen.
The open letter, released by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, has been created in the wake of recent tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde. This year has already seen over 250 mass shootings in the US.
While the letter notes that the real problem lies with “lax gun laws” and politicians “more afraid of losing power than saving lives”, it also recognises that representation of guns in film and TV needs to be addressed.
“We didn’t cause the problem, but we want to help fix it,” it reads. “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 letter does not call for an end to guns on screen but for more responsible usage and lists issues for others to be mindful of when creating shows and films. Points include showing the consequences for reckless gun use, considering alternatives to guns pre-production without sacrificing narrative integrity and limiting scenes with children and guns.
According to a recent study, gun violence on primetime network television has doubled in the last two decades and there is more of it in PG-13 movies than R-rated ones.
“We are under no illusions that these actions are a substitute for common sense gun legislation,” it reads. “Furthermore, this list does not incorporate every nuance of guns on screen. However, these are small things that we can do as a community to try and end this national nightmare.”
Other signers of the letter include Judd Apatow, Jimmy Kimmel, Kathleen Kennedy and Mark Ruffalo.
Every year in America, more than 40,000 people are shot and killed with guns.