Following the Uvalde, Texas elementary school mass shooting on 24 May, which left 19 children and two teachers dead, a petition, titled “Open Letter to Our Colleagues in the Creative Community,” has called on the TV and film industry to re-evaluate its influence on gun violence in the US.
“Considering there have been over 250 other mass shootings so far this year, it’s an almost incomprehensible tragedy. Something needs to be done,” the petition begins.
“Guns are prominently featured in TV and movies in every corner of the globe, but only America has a gun violence epidemic. The responsibility lies with lax gun laws supported by those politicians more afraid of losing power than saving lives. We didn’t cause the problem, but we want to help fix it.”
It continues: “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.
“We are not asking anyone to stop showing guns on screen. We are asking writers, directors and producers to be mindful of on-screen gun violence and model gun safety best practices. Let’s use our collective power for good.”
Furthermore, the petition pledges to “make a conscious effort to show characters locking their guns safely and making them inaccessible to children”.
In addition to having “at least one conversation during pre-production regarding the ways guns will be portrayed on screen and consider alternatives that could be employed without sacrificing narrative integrity”.
And lastly, to “limit scenes including children and guns, bearing in mind that guns are now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents”.
The call-to-action comes after Matthew McConaughey delivered an emotional address at the White House where he shared details about the school-aged victims of the Uvalde shooting massacre.
Earlier, the Uvalde native penned an op-ed arguing to keep guns “out of the hands of dangerous people”.
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