In the wake of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, 200 producers and showrunners—including Shonda Rhimes, Jimmy Kimmel, and Judd Apatow—have put forth a pledge which focuses on diminishing the depictions of gun-related violence in television while upholding safe gun practices on-screen.
“As America’s storytellers, our goal is primarily to entertain, but we also acknowledge that stories have the power to effect change,” the letter reads. “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.”
In addition to Rhimes, Kimmel, and Apatow, others people who have signed the pledge include Bill Lawrence, Michelle and Robert King, Steve Levitan, David Shore, Matt Nix, Marti Noxon, and Amy Schumer.
“As we worked through the language, we wanted to be respectful of the creative community’s wide range of experience and opinions about guns on screen,” Brady LA co-chair Christy Callahan says. “Every person agreed that not only do we need better gun laws, but also modeling gun safety on screen could have a positive effect on the culture in a country with 400 million guns in circulation. It worked with smoking and seatbelts, it’s time to try with gun safety.”
The pledge lays out these promises for the creators moving forward:
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.
“We are under no illusions that these actions are a substitute for common sense gun legislation,” the letter concludes. “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.”
You can read the full letter and see the entire list of signatories here.