Celebrities aren’t exactly the most pro-gun group in American culture—we’ve known that for a long time. In the wake of recent tragedies, however, that issue of gun control has become more prevalent, and more celebrities have become even more outspoken about gun control than ever before. A recent public service announcement titled “Demand a Plan”—backed by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns—features the likes of Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Jeremy Renner and more calling for tighter gun control measures in response to the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Conn., among other recent tragedies.
Problem is, many of these actors have starred in films glorifying the use of firearms, or have been known to put a few rounds downrange in real life, creating what appears to be a two-faced approach from Hollywood on firearms.
Such perceived hypocrisy is the focus of a parody video making rounds on the web pointing out celebs’ previous interactions with firearms, from the silver screen to real life.
Whether they portray villainous or heroic roles in TV and movies, actors and actresses are placed under the microscope once they get their hands on a gun—or several guns. After all, how can they glamorize the action-packed, shoot-’em-up genre one minute, then condemn firearm ownership the next?
The argument against stars’ portrayals in any form of entertainment gets more convoluted when you consider that yes, actors do sometimes portray characters who don’t necessarily match up with their real-life beliefs. Clint Eastwood was never a rule-breaking, tough guy inspector, and Gene Hackman has probably never wanted to kill Superman.
But some of these celebrities have been to ranges in the past—for example, Conan O’Brien famously fired full-auto with legendary author Hunter S. Thompson, as shown in the above video—and have not only had a great time, but have experienced what safe, responsible gun ownership is truly like.
Now we have a legitimate argument. If these celebs could only get to a shooting range and try any shooting sport in a safe, controlled environment, they might not be so keen to turn around and condemn it. If it’s still not for them, fine; that’s their prerogative. But just because they don’t enjoy it doesn’t mean no one else should.
For what it’s worth, no one in the video comes right out and says, “Guns are evil and we should ban them forever.” But their message certainly doesn’t seem to stand for gun ownership either. In fact, the message is pretty ambiguous and doesn’t really take a hard stand either way, besides stating the obvious: What happened in Newtown was an unimaginable tragedy. Rather than provide a sensible solution, however, the ad places the burden of responsibility on you, the viewer.
Why not take a hard stance, be it pro- or anti-gun control? Why not provide a clear, reasonable solution rather than an ambiguous call to action? Of course no one wants mass shootings to occur, but what’s the best way to stop them without encroaching our our rights?
If that’s a discussion Hollywood doesn’t want to have, then it’s one that regular, everyday Americans will have, one that will hopefully be productive in leading this country to a place where we can cut out senseless violence without rendering ourselves defenseless.