The people responsible for a large percentage of America's gun violence — and some of the country's bloodiest, highest-publicity murders — are worried that New York's strict new gun laws will severely affect them. Sounds good. Except that the people all work for Hollywood.
When the state passed its new gun control measures in January, they were quickly hailed as the most restrictive in the nation. Among the provisions were a broad expansion of banned weapons, tighter rules around their ownership, and bans on high-capacity magazines. For people wanting to film television shows and movies in the state, that's a problem. The New York Times reports:
Twenty-seven pilots, television and feature projects, including programs like “Blue Bloods” and “Person of Interest,” are now in production in New York State using assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Industry workers say that they need to use real weapons for verisimilitude, that it would be impractical to try to manufacture fake weapons that could fire blanks, and that the entertainment industry should not be penalized accidentally by a law intended as a response to mass shootings.
The industry wants a specific carve-out, exempting the use of prop guns and magazines that hold more blanks. But lawmakers — particularly Republicans representing rural areas — apparently aren't interested in revisiting the controversial vote. Pro-gun activists aren't sympathetic either.
“They’re saying, ‘Why are we being held to this standard when Hollywood is getting a pass, and they’re the ones who are promoting the violence?’ ” said Thomas H. King, the president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.
A report issued today by the Parents Television Council — a controversial organization that's made its name aggressively criticizing popular media — outlines the extent of violence in primetime television. Over the course of 392 prime-time, scripted programs, the PTC identified 193 incidents of violence. The Associated Press describes some of those incidents.
- A man threatens hospital workers on NBC's Chicago Fire with a gun before he's disabled with a Taser.
- A gun fight on ABC's Last Resort is ignited by one man stabbing another in the abdomen with a screwdriver.
- On CBS's Blue Bloods, a man aims a gun at a group of children in the park before he is shot dead.
Those are more exotic moments; more mundane shootings didn't evoke detailed descriptions.
Television producers would like to keep making those scenes in New York State. One Brooklyn-based special effects coordinator The Times spoke with wonders if they will.
“If a producer has to jump through more flaming hoops than they already do to shoot in this crazy city of ours, they’re going to go: ‘When is too many hoops? Is this the last one? Am I done now?’ ” Mr. Bushell said.
Photo: Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg promote a movie about guns. (AP)