Hollywood Becomes Increasingly Vocal in the Fight Against Gun Violence

House of Cards Gun Violence
Courtesy of Netflix

In the latest season of “House of Cards,” first lady Claire Underwood champions new gun laws with the help of a group called Families for Gun Reform.

The group is fictitious — as is Underwood’s political brinkmanship to outwit the NRA. But go to families forgunreform.com, and you’ll be redirected to the site of the very real organization Everytown for Gun Safety, launched by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Everytown didn’t just buy up the Families for Gun Reform URL, the group collaborated with “House of Cards” writers “to make sure they got it right,” according to the organization’s president, John Feinblatt. In fact, Feinblatt consulted on the script regarding issues of gun legislation and violence.

Everytown, as well as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and other groups, are increasingly working with entertainment figures to keep their legislative goals in the public eye.

And where past efforts to enlist entertainers or the creators of shows were met with some reticence — given the polarizing nature of the issue and the almost certain pushback from gun rights advocates — now there is a greater willingness to back gun-reform issues, like the need for universal background checks for gun buyers.

The Good Wife” featured an episode addressing the liability of a gun-store owner after a girl’s death. The Brady Campaign consulted on the episode, and has been working to get more stories that address gun violence integrated into scripts, says president Dan Gross.

“The gun lobby and its lapdogs in Congress and the state legislatures want you to believe that you are risking your career by coming out in support of what the overwhelming majority of Americans want,” Gross says.

Despite proposed legislation mandating universal background checks having stalled in Congress, a growing number of high-profile figures is opting to speak out; for example, a series of PSAs, paid for by Everytown and directed by Spike Lee, featured National Basketball Assn. stars calling for an end to gun violence.

Gross gave a TED Talk in February, in which he told the audience he would start “where most conversations in our country seem to start, with Kim Kardashian.” The line got a big laugh, but there was a topical payoff: He pointed to Kardashian’s appeal to her 35 million Twitter followers for more sensible gun laws. (Her tweet came with no solicitation from the Brady Campaign, he says.)

“I think the culture is changing. People are thinking, ‘It is time to step up.’”
Julianne Moore

“One year ago, it would have been different,” Gross notes, and credits new media with changing the equation. “When you have three or four big networks controlling so many eyeballs, there is this inclination toward thinking conservatively in terms of being out front on issues,” he says. “The internet has democratized information, and social media has democratized activism.”

Actress Julianne Moore had often retweeted calls for improved gun measures, but last year, frustrated that after “every major tragedy, I kept thinking there would be change, and there wasn’t,” she approached Everytown about taking an active role. The result was the formation of the Creative Council, which now numbers more than 100 entertainment figures committed to the struggle to end gun violence. “I think the culture is changing,” Moore says. “People are thinking, ‘It is time to step up.’ ”

As Moore drew on her friends and contacts to join the council, she says, “occasionally there was some trepidation” about getting involved, but “generally they got over it very quickly.”

The response to their efforts to galvanize Americans on the cause of gun-violence prevention is not always friendly. “It has been such a hot-button issue that when people in the entertainment community speak out, there is sometimes huge blowback,” Moore says. “It is scary.” For example, when she tweeted support of a series of anti-gun-violence measures announced in January by President Obama, she received some irate — and vulgar — responses.

Feinblatt traces showbiz’s increased involvement to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children. Subsequently, 60 celebrities appeared in a PSA with a simple word: “Enough.” The movement, he says, has strength because “people aren’t standing alone. They are standing as a group.”

Gun-rights advocates are countering the message.

After Newtown, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre gave a press conference in which he cited violence in the media, including video games and Hollywood movies, as contributors to a violent society. “And they all have the nerve to call it entertainment,” he said. Amy Hunter, media liaison for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, echoes the charge: “It is always one side of the issue that gets pushed,” she says. “It is sort of what we expect coming out of Hollywood.”

Some of the most outspoken gun-control advocates in Hollywood acknowledge that the industry needs to put its own house in order. When Harvey Weinstein appeared on Piers Morgan’s CNN show in 2014, he said: “You have to look in the mirror, too. I have to choose films that aren’t violent or aren’t as violent as they used to be.”

A focus on media violence in the wake of Newtown led to Vice President Joseph Biden meeting with representatives from the entertainment and video-game industries. But a 2011 Supreme Court decision that struck down a California law to limit the sale of video games puts in doubt the ability of any future legislation to survive a constitutional challenge.

Even attempts to try to find a definitive answer as to whether there is a link between media violence and actual
violence, such as proposed legislation
to spend $10 million on a National Academy of Sciences study, have stalled. Over the decades, there has been a minefield of research with conflicting conclusions.

Feinblatt calls the media argument advanced by the NRA and other gun rights groups a red herring.

“The whole world watches our movies. They watch our television shows. They play video games,” he says. “Yet the U.S. suffers gun violence that is 20 times the rate of other developed countries. [Hollywood] is not the problem.”

Everytown and the Brady Campaign are trying to keep the focus on background checks for all gun purchases, a concept backed by 90% or more of Americans, according to recent polling.

While Congress hasn’t moved on the issue of mandating universal background checks, groups opposing gun violence see greater possibilities for success at the state level: In November, background-check initiatives are on the ballots in Maine and Nevada.

Moore compares the strategy to the fight for marriage equality, where state-by-state battles led to the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

“Nothing happens federally until things happen in the states,” she points out.

Still, Moore believes Americans should be united in the push for universal background checks and other safety measures. “This is not an issue we are divisive about,” she says. “This is about safety. This is not a Second Amendment issue.”

She compares the situation to the drive to improve automobile safety in the 1970s, which succeeded thanks to a mix of public awareness and legislation. “What happens is things reach a tipping point. It is a public safety issue now, so it is time to do something about it.”

For more for from Variety’s Politics and Hollywood issue, click here.

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  1. Susan Childs says:

    Anyone wanting to see a thought provoking, heartfelt play on the impact of gun violence, please go and see the off- broadway production of Church and State before it closes.

  2. pavepusher says:

    More Hollywood Fascism on a subject they know nothing about. I wonder if they’ll ever “consult” with people who aren’t against a Constitutional Right….

  3. DrugAddictedNihilist says:

    That was the last episode of House of cards that I watched. I overlooked the one episode where they made libertarians look like drug addicted nihilists. The propaganda just got too thick after the gun control bit.

  4. everett walker says:

    House of Cards did get details on existing gun laws wrong- the general leftist script about “Online! Sales!” In fairness though, they also totally dropped ball on the Old Fashion Cocktail. The sophisticated Chinese Communist used single malt scotch instead of bourbon or rye.
    Seeing the president and first lady as depicted on this series crusading for Gun! Control! is not particularly effective advocacy. Both of them have killed political enemies.
    Only liberals could consider them role models..

  5. Ostlander says:

    Gross, Fienblatt, Weinstein, Bloomberg. Anyone having trouble connecting the dots?

  6. David Smith says:

    The premise of the article is nonsense. Hollywood has steadily pushed gun control for over 40 years. Almost every sitcom eventually ran The Evil Gun Script since the 70s. ‘Robbery in neighborhood. Foolish Father wants a gun. Wise Mother is opposed. Father gets gun and nearly shoots beloved child sneaking in late.’ Other examples varying with type of show.

  7. Travis says:

    The industry might want to start their crusade against guns with their friends in the entertainment business. I suggest they sign a pledge to not accept residual payments or participate in any new projects that depicts the unsafe or illegal use or possession of any weapon. You can use CA, NJ or NY gun laws as your baseline. Prove to the movie ticket buyers that you’re not hypocrites.

  8. Mike says:

    These people live in a dream world anyway. They are constantly playing the part of someone else to the tune they don’t know who they really are!

  9. Hollywood, the land of hypocrisy, is now going to tackle gun violence, but they will still will continue to produce movies, TV shows, music, music videos, & video games that depict violence using firearms and earn money for their efforts. They will still continue to have armed guards to protect themselves.

    To all celebrities who appear in movies, tv shows, music videos, etc:
    You have absolutely NO credibility until you match words with actions. Talk is cheap. Stop spreading lies, half truths, misdirections about firearm violence.
    If you REALLY want to curb gun violence:
    1. Stress enforcement of current firearm laws
    2. Protest early release & plea bargains for those accused/convicted of firearms offenses

    Paraphrasing Dr Suzanna Gratia-Hupp (who survived, but lost her parents in the Luby’s mass shooting):
    “How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individual… as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of.”
    Simply substitute politician with “celebrity” or “person”.

  10. Mike says:

    I will be more than happy to live the rest of my life without that Hollywood trash they call “movies”, but will never surrender my guns.

  11. Bill Spina says:

    What BS, the Hollywood crowd is by far and away the biggest promoters of gun violence. And how many of them have arm guards. We peasants don’t deserve the same?

  12. bill says:

    What B, the Hollywood crowd is by far and away the biggest promoters of gun violence. And how many of them have arm guards. We peasants don’t deserve the same?

  13. vertdrakol says:

    Background checks, heck even the NRA might be okay, if it wasn’t for the fact it is a Felony to call the check system to find out if find the stranger who wants to buy your firearm.

    Before you require something why don’t you decriminalize it first.. Or is it just you want to register all gun owners even if only After they sell a firearm?

  14. Master Zinc says:

    For Fun & Profit I’ve been taking online surveys. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve earned over $300 last year alone.
    A few months ago one of the questions asked was: How much TV do you watch per week?
    I had to stop and count. Excluding the local stations 11:00 news I discovered that I only watch MAYBE Five Hours per week. My total easily is under 10 hours per week, nightly news included.
    I USED to watch a Lot of TV. After school-work viewing, then when I got older, After-work viewing easily did two or there hours per day. I can’t even imagine the weekend viewing. 24 hours of TV watching easy per week.

    Hollywood is no longer making series that I care about. My viewing of motion pictures has gone way down, too. It used to be I’d go to two different theaters on a single day; Three on a Good evening. I cannot remember the last time I saw two movies in the same month. Several weeks ago I decided to tune into a program that I used to enjoy. They got so many gun facts wrong that I didn’t bother to finish watching the program.

    So another Anti-Gun program is coming to air. That means one more TV program That I Will Not Watch. I simply refuse to watch it. They will have to physically have to make me watch it.

    They scream about gun violence but have armed bodyguards that are better armed than some small American towns police forces.

  15. bmarch says:

    everytown made sure they “got it right”!!!! that’s a good one!

  16. Chris says:

    Aside from the other hypocritical points others made, Hollywood has access to far more guns including real “assult weapons” and machine guns than any citizen could own. They can skirt around gun laws the rest of us citizens are required to follow. Futhermore, unlike the NRA Hollywood promotes violence whereas the NRA provides gun safety courses for all ages. I will boycott any organization who is against my civil rights.

  17. Chris says:

    Looks like another show that requires a boycott. My civil rights aren’t up for debate.

  18. simpleman says:

    will hollywood stop glorifying gun violence in their movies??? didn’t think so

  19. Louis Latour says:

    There is no such thing as “gun violence”. Gun’s are inanimate objects. People can and may be violent.

  20. The Carnivore says:

    If you are anti-gun violence, then by definition you are anti-black.

  21. Beth CP says:

    Just once I’d like to see Ms. Julianne Moore (or any other film actor), try to have an intelligent conversation/face down with someone who has used a gun to protect their property from being stolen or their family being assaulted or killed. Barring that, I’d like to see her try to navigate around without security in a less than desirable-to-be-in area of LA, NYC, Chicago etc. Methinks this woman, for all of her do-gooder-ism, might come away with a different view of what real people who don’t have the means and wherewithal to have said security, have to deal with as opposed to her living in her guard monitored gated community or penthouse apartment. The hypocrisy of these people is as thick as a slab of polished granite.

  22. David Melton says:

    Why not champion the genocide caused by medical error in America which kills 12.5 times more people annually? Huh? Oh, It’s not about saving lives?

  23. Dave M says:

    I think they misspelled hypocritical in the article title. As in “Hollywood Becomes Increasingly [Hypocritical] in the Fight Against Gun Violence

  24. Frank Nash says:

    These people in Hollywood are the biggest hypocrites, just like politicians. Living behind walled and gated communities with armed guards telling us we don’t need our protection. When all of you in the Hollywood hills move down to a one bedroom house in South Central with no body guards, maybe, just MAYBE what you have to say will matter to me. See, I have to wait 8 1/2 minutes for police to arrive when I call 9/11 if I don’t have a gun or the means to defend myself. Can you wait that long when your life is in danger?

  25. Jim Billings says:

    This is why Trump will be the next president. Hollywood, the media, and the left in general does not get it. Americans are past being tired of your hypocritical, politically correct BS. YOU MAKE MOVIES GLORIFYING VIOLENCE – GUN VIOLENCE!!!!!

  26. Raz Lemons says:

    Hollywood should lead by example and put a last bullet in those movie guns, Pistols that have unlimited rounds everybody with machine guns, The more guts and gore the bigger the sales, enough already.

  27. Douglass Hetherly says:

    Of course Hollywood is more vocal, they are owned by the New World Order and they are only following their masters orders of EVIL intent and destruction of America.

  28. RedRyderz says:

    And then they went back to their trailers to gear up in full-tactical gear, carrying machine guns, shotguns, handguns, grenades, etc., then hurried back in front of the camera to gun down 258 people, for their next exciting movie.

    I notice Hollywood won’t start with themselves, by self-regulating like they did with smoking. Rare is the time when you see someone smoking on camera these days, when it used to be promoted and glorified, but blowing someone’s head off with a shotgun using a macro-lens and slow-motion, so we can see the brain matter splattering all over the screen for effect is not a problem. Film makers now work hard at seeing who can have the highest body count on cellulose, the most bullet-casings tinkling on the ground, the most gallons of blood running down the gutter. This twisted mentality is lauded and celebrated by “Hollywood Figures” as “edgy” or “provocative” and given awards. Yet they still refuse to look in the mirror at their roles in all this, even as mass killers are beginning to dress up as their favorite on-screen villains, before they go on their killing sprees.

    “Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Pow! Pow! Pow! Thud…And…Cut!

  29. railroadman says:

    I will have my firearms to enjoy and own for the rest of my life.God bless the NRA I live the state of Free FLORIDA TAKE YOUR LEFT WING views to CBS NBC CNN ABC but not on MY TV

  30. New law…Watch more then 1 hour of TV per week and you loose your right to vote.

  31. rfxcasey says:

    Where are the TV ads promoting the 2nd amendment and responsible gun owners? Is there a law that prevents such things or does the media take it upon themselves to refuse to air anything pro gun?

  32. Gryff says:

    The anti-gun crowd in Hollywood should put their money where their mouths are. If they hate gun violence, then do not accept any role in any future movie or TV show that utilizes firearms as part of the plot. I have a feeling that a lot of the “we must do something about the violence” crowd will show themselves to be complete hypocrites.

  33. Tyron Huang says:

    So they don’t want citizens to have guns, but in all their action movies they promote the gun violence to make millions in their movies. Gee hypocrite much?

  34. Nancy Clair says:

    Now that the Heller Decision is the law of the land, there is no need to worry about what the gun grabbers try to do because they cannot do it.

    What you are seeing now is a liberal version of the Kim Davis situation.

    A Supreme Court ruling was made, people thought it didn’t have to be respected or that it didn’t apply to them, or their situation, and that they would continue to do just as they always have done and defy anyone to stop them, and they displayed their defiance of the court in a contemptuous manner.

    Then they got out their pens and tried altering marriage license forms in Kentucky , the same way Obama has been using “his pen” and similar backdoor run around tactics to just take what he wants and do what he wants.

    Of course there are different situations, and conditions but looking at it strictly from the point of the court decisions, the similarites are the culture shock of the rulings, the adamant reluctance of parties in both instances to observe and respect the ruling and perform the part of their duty they owe to implement the decision, and things like that..

    And not to sound cruel but it would be sad if sadness were a valid reason to defy the court and refuse to abide by it. If that were the case, we would have people arguing that extreme happiness should also excuse a person from obeying the law.

  35. Mirgc says:

    WOW. I feel a bit… dirty? No, manipulated now knowing that political lobby groups are colluding to push one sided political positions in Hollywood entertainment. i.e. propaganda.

  36. I.m. Ovine says:

    I watch the show — Clare is not working against gun violence but is working toward gun control and bans — The Underwoods as everyone understands by now are murderous sociopaths lusting for absolute power leaving a string of dead bodies in their wake — Essentially they are poster children for the existence of the 2nd amendment that the founders envisioned.

    • David says:

      Nicely said. Those who would disarm lawful citizens because of their personal dislike of guns should stop for a moment and imagine what it would be like if only criminals had guns. Anyone who does not realize that 300,000,000 lawfully owned guns in the USA deters crime is just plain dumb or brain-dead.

  37. Yep, pretty typical. Glorify gun violence and bad behavior then come out with sort moronic foolishness with not thought towards the real problem.

    et’s start addressing the real problem. The lack of morals, the lack of ethics and the lack of respect for the sanctity of human life. Then we have the breakdown of the family unit and kids that are being raised by the (often violent) TV and Xbox, often undisciplined and with no respect for authority. On top of that we now have a generation exposed to the idea that if a human life is a bother to you, it’s a right to end it. (Abortion if you didn’t catch on.) On top of that is the entitlement mentality that a growing segment of society has and sometimes when one of those individuals doesn’t get what they think they deserve they believe the whole world hates them and they decide to go on a shooting spree. But no, these subjects seem be taboo, instead there is only discussion about my 2nd Amendment rights, the hate of the NRA and law abiding gun owners.

    Gun control, the solution of the tyrants and the simple minded.

  38. dhufpostsux says:

    It’s one thing to throw out gun violence stats, quite another to do so honestly. Over 60% of the US stats are suicides, while horrible, hardly counts as gun violence for two reasons…unless you’re contemplating suicide, this has no impact on you as you live life day to day, and more importantly, the stats we’re compared with do NOT count suicides. The UN, which provides the stats, specifically separates suicides and murders, while we are the only nation that includes suicides domestically, but also separate them for the UN.
    When comparing violent crimes per capita of 100,000 citizens, the US has 466, with heavily anti-gun nations seeing less gun crimes, but far higher per capita violence, like Canada at over 600 and Briton at over 2,000.
    Recently the UN numbers were questioned because of Briton including actions that the US does not. That is flawed because Briton, in 2006, dropped those acts as well as stopped prosecuting simple assaults and burglaries. As of 2016, Briton counts LESS acts than the US, not more.

  39. Nancy Clair says:

    No it is not a “public safety issue now”.. It is still a constitutional issue and a national security issue and that’s why the Second Amendment was written in a legally airtight way. The amendment starts out by explaining it’s purpose, the national security of our country.

    Then it says that due to this vital national security interest no other interest can be entertained or recognized as having priority or more importance than the right of each individual American to own and carry a gun. This is the reason the strong legal wording “shall not” was used.

    There is no room for discussion, ambiguity, alternative interpretations or even the acceptance of voluntary dilution of the right to own and carry guns. The constitution commands every American not to accept that, even if they may want to. The word shall is universally recognized as the superior to “may” so even though you may want to try to get around this Amendment or voluntarily accept abridgments, it tells you that you shall not do that.

    • David says:

      hoorah. Impossible to say it any better. Many State Constitutions have the same language. Pennsylvania for example – “The right of citizens to bear arms for defense of self and State shall not be questioned.” Missouri has something almost identical. There are many others. The point is that the citizens’ right to bear arms is not an idea unique to the Founding Fathers of the USA but has been recognized and enshrined over and over at the State level. Plainly there is a reason for that.

  40. Three things here: 1) this is Hollywood—-an alternate world off somewhere in the alternate state of alternate lifestyles, 2) the sitcom is fiction. 3)any force who tries to steal the Constitution and the actual guns from Americans will re-discover what a certain Imperial Japanese Army general once astutely recognized: “There will be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”

    • David says:

      Bloomberg lives in the same alternate world where money is measured by weight instead of counting the number of bills. And given his heavily armed body guards he already understands what the Japanese army general understood.

  41. Bill Jeffs says:

    These attempts to change the 2nd Amendment are a direct attack on the US constitution and amount to sedition…sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. There attempts are in violation of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 signed into law by President John Adams.

  42. Skip says:

    No Hollywood you are the problem !!!!!

    • Hollyweird can gloat and banter about “gun violence” until the – – – – ing cows come home… Stupid, ultra disprovable disinformation (the foundation upon which the far left hacks stand upon in pontificating better public safety) will always FAIL in the court of TRUE PUBLIC PERCEPTION AT LARGE……..

  43. Ed Callender says:

    Hollywood will do their part by eliminating all VIOLENCE and all WEAPONS from their movies and take the lead by making the rules…..We can all give up our rights to pacify the liberals….Bambi & Thumper can be the new hollywood. NO more of those 1st & 2nd rights…..hey Hollywood, we await your lead and the game industry would have to do the same, no more violent games. Show us the way or stfup.

  44. Rich Keylor says:

    Guns don’t commit violence, people commit violence. Maybe we should severely punish the people who commit violence.

  45. Steven Raye says:

    stop making movies with guns the…Hollywood is so hypocritical. stop benefitting from what the second amendment protects and try to destroy it too. F/U Hollywood!

  46. get Real says:

    “Hollywood” LMAO —Cant think of a more pathetic, Self Righteous, Out of Touch , Elitist group…and VERY Dumb to boot….This country would be SO much better off if they all just disappeared . They ALL have armed body guards . They ALL have been in movies where guns are used..And they ALL live in rich affluent neighborhoods where cops actually do their job..Love to see these whiners live in my neighborhood and be unable to protect themselves… Pathetic… but Very Funny….Some Very sick Psychopaths are running our country and the world. Trump is not connected or ordained by these freaks. sHillary, Kasich, Cruz, Obama, Kerry are ALL puppets for these creeps who are out to destroy this country through on going War, Destruction of the middle -class, Debt enslavement, Exporting Jobs, Stealing Freedoms in the name of “security”, Producing false Flag events and destroying our Constitution….Listen to Ex -Marine: “Ken O Keefe dares to say what others won’t….

  47. Wm says:

    These liberal democrat supported groups that are trying daily to strip the rights of millions of law abiding citizens. amazing that druggers and other overblown hype and lies supprted by these Hollywood losers think they should have the right to tell others how to live. Maybe they should clean up their own act first..

  48. Umm, why not stop making movies that glorify firearms violence? Oh, wait, that might cut into profits. Impossible.

  49. Lin Robinson says:

    I will take an NRA member over most any Hollywood actor if I need help defending myself or my family. They know little about firearms or firearms safety and suspect even less. Not to mention that Hollywood turns out some of the most violent content on the movie screen and thinks nothing of it as long as they make plenty of money. A bunch of hypocrites.

  50. Ted Nelson says:

    Give up your freedom for a little security. That was Hitler’s promise and looked what happened. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are what made this country great. Give up part of it and the rest will disappear.

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