Gary Sinise opens up about being a conservative in Hollywood

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Actor Gary Sinise discussed gun control and his conservative political beliefs. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)

Gary Sinise has opened up about his political views in a new interview.

During an appearance on Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? airing on HBO Max and CNN this weekend, the former CSI: NY star explained what it's like having more conservative views in the entertainment industry.

Wallace noted that Sinise, who rose to stardom in films like Forrest Gump and Apollo 13, is "one of the relatively few conservatives in Hollywood," adding that he helped found a group of people in Hollywood with similar political beliefs called Friends of Abe, a reference to President Abraham Lincoln.

"Do conservatives in the entertainment industry need a support group?" Wallace asked Sinise, noting that the actor has contributed over the years to politicians like John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Sinise laughed in response, noting that the organization's creation came about during the early days of the Iraq War.

"I think so much was motivated by what happened to our Vietnam veterans and the lack of support that they got and the way they were treated, and then we regretted it later on," Sinise shared. "I didn't want our Iraq War and Afghanistan veterans to fall prey to any of that kind of stuff. I just wanted to get in there and support them. So I started looking for people that were just in the same camp as me on that subject. And I found other folks in the movie and television business who enjoyed getting together."

During the conversation, Sinise also voiced his support for the right to bear arms. Wallace asked the actor, if, as "a big supporter of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms under the Constitution," he had any feelings about whether there should be more gun control restrictions on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.

"Yeah, I'm not the guy to know exactly what to do about all that. The one thing I do know is that you can't get rid of guns," answered Sinise, one of the founders of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, which was started in Highland Park, Ill., the same town where a mass shooting occurred on July 4 during an Independence Day parade. Sinise shared that as a kid, he lived just three blocks from where the shooting occurred, and used to march in the parade in the early days of Steppenwolf. But he maintained that the issue of gun violence is "a complicated situation" that he doesn't believe can be easily solved.

"You know, I said this to Larry King," the Forrest Gump star added. "One time he asked me about that. And I said, 'Well ... what are we going to propose? Because guns are here to stay. They've always been a part of the American story.' So what do we do now that we seem to have this easy access to guns when we shouldn't? Or people that get guns that shouldn't have them?"

Sinise went on to say that "we need multiple solutions. Clearly, there's no one solution for this terrible problem that we have."

Wallace went on to ask Sinise if he thought he could have had a "bigger career in the conventional Hollywood sense" if he chose to focus solely on acting, versus all the time he spends working to support veterans.

Noting that he has had "great opportunity" in Hollywood, Sinise said he "can't complain about my acting career." Plus, the recognition he gained from his decades-long career is a "key element" to providing the international platform to do his service work, which includes performing over 500 shows for military members as part of the Lieutenant Dan Band — a nod to his Oscar-nominated role — as well as building smart homes for severely wounded military officers and their families as part of the Gary Sinise Foundation.