Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't see a tie between violence in his movies and outbreaks of gun violence in America, like the December shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Schwarzenegger, who returns to the big screen this month in The Last Stand -- his first leading role following his eight-year stint as California governor -- spoke to reporters in Beverly Hills on Jan. 5 while promoting the film.
“I think one must always keep it separate," Schwarzenegger said. "This is entertainment and the other thing is a tragedy beyond belief and serious and the real deal."
The Last Stand continues in the vein of violent and explosive movies that made him a household name in the '90s, the type of entertainment cited by NRA chief Wayne LaPierre recently as a contributing factor behind the Newtown shooting.
In it, Schwarzenegger plays the sheriff of an Arizona border town who must stop a Mexican cartel boss from crossing illegally into Mexico. Co-starring Johnny Knoxville and directed by South Korea's Jee-Woon Kim, the movie features extensive shootouts, including Schwarzenegger firing a Gatling-style gun from the back of a school bus.
Schwarzenegger is on record as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment but also supports the Brady Bill, which requires background checks. While campaigning for governor in 2003, he softened his stance claiming he was for gun control as well as closing gun show loopholes which allow the purchase of firearms without a background check.
“Whenever there’s a tragedy like that it would be foolish not to look into all ways of what we can do as a society to improve the situation and to reduce the risk of those kind of issues,” Schwarzenegger said. “How can we do better with gun laws? If there is any loophole, if there’s a problem there, let’s analyze it.”
The former governor also pointed to the lack of mental health oversight as well as parenting as contributors to the problem.
“Does a mother need to collect those guns and take her little kids shooting?” he asked. “Everything has to be analyzed, no stone unturned. And I think that’s what we owe to our people, and I think that’s what they ought to do, rather than make it political.”