NY to exempt TV, movies under state's new gun law
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York sought to combat violence by rushing the nation's toughest gun control measure into law after the Connecticut school shootings that killed 26 people, but the state is now carving out an exemption to make sure movie and TV producers can stage running gun battles on Manhattan streets.
Movie and TV productions have long been courted by New York and other states with tax breaks in exchange for the jobs and glamour of the industry. Hollywood is also a major campaign fundraising stop for New York politicians.
"We spend a lot of money in the state bringing movie production here, post-production here, so obviously we would want to facilitate that," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who wants to expand the film and TV tax credit.
He said movies and TV may use fake guns that wouldn't be subject to the new law but the industry wants "certainty." The revised law would allow them to use real weapons without real ammunition.
David and Francine Wheeler, parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Benjamin Wheeler, embrace, during a gun violence conference in Danbury, Conn., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. The conference, held near Newtown, Conn. where 26 lives were lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, was organized by members of the state's congressional delegation is to push President Barack Obama's gun control proposals. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
"There's no reason not to make a change like that to give an industry comfort, especially when it's an industry we want to do business in the state," the governor said.
Film and television producers have spent more than $7 billion in New York since the state began offering tax breaks in 2004, the governor's office says. New York has been the stage for recent films including "Spider-Man 3," ''The Nanny Diaries," ''Sex and the City 2," and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Most of Woody Allen's films are made in New York City, and many TV shows including "Louie" turn to the city for their backdrop.
The Hollywood exemption is just one of the revisions planned for the state law that was passed in January before the Obama administration and other states offered their legislative responses to the Dec. 14 rampage in Newtown, Conn. Other changes to the New York law would allow police officers to keep their high-capacity handguns and take a loaded gun on school grounds without permission from school officials.