In the wake of the recent mass shootings across the country, actors and creators are taking a stand to reconsider the use of guns in Hollywood. On June 13, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that a group of roughly 200 directors, writers, showrunners, and producers signed an open letter called the #ShowYourSafety pledge, backed by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, to urge their industry colleagues to incorporate gun-safety protocols into their TV show and movie projects.
The letter reads: "Guns are prominently featured in TV and movies in every corner of the globe, but only America has a gun violence epidemic . . . As America's storytellers, our goal is primarily to entertain, but we also acknowledge that stories have the power to effect change. 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."
The gun-safety petition, which includes an ask to scrutinize the use of guns in storytelling, is led by signatures from Hollywood vets like Shonda Rhimes, Judd Apatow, Jimmy Kimmel, Debbie Allen, Mark Ruffalo, and Janet Mock. Those who have signed the letter have vowed to demonstrate the following:
- 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.
The Hollywood gun-safety pledge comes after the tragic Robb Elementary School shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, TX, on May 24, as well as the fatal incidents that took place in a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, and a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, CA. In President Joe Biden's June 2 remarks to the nation, he noted that there have been 20 other mass shootings since the events that occurred in Uvalde.
If you're looking for ways to get involved in the fight against gun violence, you can donate to gun-reform organizations working to enact change at local and federal levels. Everytown For Gun Safety and Newtown Action Alliance also offer helpful resources and opportunities to fight for gun control.