Celebrities are as divided on gun control as the rest of us

GOODY TWO SHOES: E! Online posts an article about on “stars who are proud gun owners” in response to a NJ reader's tweet, and comes up with several surprising boldfaced names, other than “the obvious pistol-packers like Ted Nugent” – for instance, “James Earl Jones and Whoopi Goldberg both have confirmed membership in the National Rifle Association.” E! Online adds:

[Angelina] Jolie told the Daily Mail in 2008 that "I bought original, real guns of the type we used in Tomb Raider for security. Brad and I are not against having a gun in the house, and we do have one.

"And yes, I'd be able to use it if I had to. ... If anybody comes into my home and tries to hurt my kids, I've no problem shooting them." …

The Avengers star/witch hunter Jeremy Renner has made a similar statement: "I'm for guns. I own guns and I don't think guns kill people, I think people kill people."

Miranda Lambert is another proud gun owner; she's estimated she owns 8 to 10 firearms, plus bows for hunting.

"I got a death threat a few years ago and was really scared," she told Self mag. "But I don't want bodyguards. I am my own security."

E! Online also mentions several celebrities who have applied for licenses to carry concealed weapons, but notes that it is “unclear” whether they followed through.

Whoopi Goldberg’s name may not immediate come to mind when thinking of celebrities who support Second Amendment rights, but there’s a smilar disconnect on the other side of the issue with stars whose action-film roles and macho lifestyles belie their support of gun control laws. Like Sylvester Stallone, for instance. The Associated Press reports that “Stallone supported the 1994 "Brady bill" that included a now-expired ban on assault weapons, and hopes that ban can be reinstated”:

"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?"

Contradicting himself, Stallone adds that, “the biggest problem, seriously, is not so much guns … every one of these people that have done these things in the past 30 years are friggin' crazy [and] that's where we've dropped the ball: mental health."

Mediaite points out that Stallone is not the only Hollywood star who is conflicted or confused about gun control, but feels compelled to put in his or her two cents anyway:

[A] cavalcade of Hollywood stars joined several prominent Democratic politicians to “demand a plan … or, more accurately, legislative action of any kind without regard for its efficacy.” …

While addressing the press, [Amanda] Peet made the argument that any new gun laws were likely to be only marginally effective. She said that proposed new gun rights restrictions were unlikely to prevent either a future Newtown massacre or the common street violence that plagues American cities. Nevertheless, she insisted that the nation must do something.  

Bruce Willis, wasn’t buying it, and told the Associated Press, “you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it’s all going to become undone. If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?” But he also dismisses any suggestion that violent entertainment may spur disturbed individuals to commit murder and mayhem: “No one commits a crime because they saw a film. There’s nothing to support that.”

This may change, because Vice President Joseph Biden recently called for Congress to appropriate funding so the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control can conduct research on videogame violence, Variety reports:

“Let the facts lead where they will, and let the research be done, and that is one of the things that the president and I believe very strongly," Biden said in a Google+ "hangout" forum. …

“There is no hard data as to whether these excessively violent videogames in fact cause people to engage in behavior that is antisocial, including using guns,” Biden said. “There is one study done, the American Academy of Pediatrics. They said if you watch three to six hours of videogames – a lot of kids do – that can lead to aggressive behavior. They didn't make the next connection, that leads to violent behavior, but there's no studies done.”

Along these lines, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has also reintroduced a bill calling for federal studies on violent videogames and video content that had not made it to a floor vote in the previous Congress. And in the House, the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force just released its report, “A Comprehensive Plan That Reduces Gun Violence and Respects the 2nd Amendment Rights of Law-Abiding Americans,” GamePolitics.com (“Where politics and videogames collide”) reports:

While the task force admits that the current research does not support a link between violent media and violent behavior, it advocates for further scientific research, anyway …

The report adds that the "entertainment and video game industries have a responsibility to give parents the tools to make appropriate choices about what their children watch and play” … Of course there are plenty of tools for parents already built into most consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, for example) - parents have to choose to use them ... it is disingenuous for lawmakers to say that we need more tools from the industry when parents don't use the tools they already have.

Yeah, well, it is equally disingenuous for lawmakers to say that we need more gun control measures when the laws that are already on the books are not enforced (second item).


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  • February 12, 2013 lemonfemale wrote:
    I wonder if Stallone is making the common mistake of assuming an "assault rifle" is an actual automatic fire military weapon? In actuality, these are standard one shot per trigger pull rifles (first four minutes). And, yes, people do hunt with "assault rifles".

    As to video games, if they make people violent, hard core gamers would be the most violent. They are not. I am reminded of an interview with the father of Evan Ramsey who some years ago killed two people in his high school in Bethel Alaska. His dad, Don Ramsey, according to an article in the Boston Globe, talked about how Evan played a lot of Doom (first person shooter) and thought he might have been imitating the game when he killed those people. What the reporter did not know was that Don Ramsey had himself taken guns into the Anchorage Times building because he was angry at the editor. He didn't kill anyone but only because he wasn't intending to. I saw their lobby the next day and the ceiling was full of holes. So was it the video game? Really?

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