Hollywood Stars Sign Open Letter Calling for Changes to On-Screen Gun Violence

Frequent mass shootings in America have many Hollywood creators banding together to examine how violence is portrayed on screen. An open letter described as the #ShowYourSafety pledge has been released, signed by around 200 entertainers suggesting that the time has come to take gun violence in movies and television more seriously. Many familiar names are included on the list, such as Jimmy Kimmel, Shonda Rhimes, Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer, Eli Roth, Julianne Moore, Grant Heslov, and Mark Ruffalo, among many others. The letter reads:

“Like most of America, we are enraged by the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. Considering there have been over 250 other mass shootings so far this year, it’s an almost incomprehensible tragedy. Something needs to be done. Guns are prominently featured in TV and movies in every corner of the globe, but only America has a gun violence epidemic. The responsibility lies with lax gun laws supported by those politicians more afraid of losing power than saving lives.”

The open letter goes on to recognize how stigmatizing certain behaviors in fiction can result in real-life changes for the better, stressing that Hollywood storytellers can make creative changes to how gun violence is portrayed on screen. Ideally, doing the same with gun violence will improve real-life gun safety measures as well.

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“We didn’t cause the problem, but we want to help fix it. 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 Goal Isn’t to Outright Remove Guns From Movies and TV Shows

The open letter states that the idea is not to “stop showing guns on screen, but rather they are asking filmmakers to “be mindful of on-screen gun violence and model gun safety best practices” and “use our collective power for good.” Some examples have also been listed as ways for content creators to better reflect gun safety in violent movies and television shows, which are as follows:

Use our creativity to model responsible gun ownership and show consequences for reckless gun use. We will make a conscious effort to show characters locking their guns safely and making them inaccessible to children. Have at least one conversation during pre-production regarding the way guns will be portrayed on screen and consider alternatives that could be employed without sacrificing narrative integrity. Limit scenes including children and guns, bearing in mind that guns are now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents.

The statement adds:

“We are under no illusions that these actions are a substitute for common sense gun legislation. 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.”

With so many Hollywood stars already signing their names, we’ll likely see some of these changes making their way into upcoming movies and shows.