Hollywood Likes Its Assault Weapons, Thank You Very Much
After the tragedy at Newtown, New York had one of the quickest legislative responses in the country. A month later, the state Senate and Assembly had voted to expand the state's definition of assault weapons, banning military-style upgrades on semi-automatic rifles and certain features on handguns, while limiting the number of bullets that are legal to load in a magazine. The NRA wasn't happy (duh), and neither was the organization Guns Across America, which rallied at the New York state capitol this past weekend. But there's another group of people that are none too pleased about New York's strengthened gun laws, and because of them, it's willing to leave the state.
Yep. Hollywood is being a real diva.
The New York Times has the story:
Twenty-seven film and television 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.
"Weapons are part of our history as a culture as humans," said Ryder Washburn, vice president of the Specialists Ltd., a leading supplier of firearms for productions that is based in Manhattan. "To tell stories, you need them."
According to the Times, the legislation would adversely affect not just the stars, but all the industry workers and prop experts behind the scenes. Suppliers of theatrical weapons are currently in talks in Albany lawmakers to try and obtain an exemption to the rule for their industry.
There are corners of Hollywood, however, that do actively, and somewhat counter-intuitively, support banning assault weapons. Take Pierce Brosnan, for example, who killed 135 people on screen in his role as James Bond, according to The Sun.
"Assault weapons should be banned without question and guns should be monitored," he told the UK paper.
And don't forget Rambo gunman Sylvester Stallone. Earlier this year the star told the AP: "I know people get (upset) and go, 'They're going to take away the assault weapon.' Who ... needs an assault weapon? Like really, unless you're carrying out an assault. ... You can't hunt with it. ... Who's going to attack your house, a (expletive) army?"
Fair point, Stallone. But how are we supposed to make a movie about that army attacking your house?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.