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Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027

Phone (262) 673-9745
Fax (262) 673-9746


February 8, 2001

Guns in Movies: Where Do We Stand?

[For for e-mail subscribers: an exclusive advance copy of a future Shotgun News column in the "Common Sense" series]

Guns in Movies: Where Do We Stand?
By Richard W. Stevens
Editor, The Bill of Rights Sentinel

Movies. America is known worldwide for making movies. By making some things look "normal" and other things look evil, mysterious or "un-cool," movies massively influence public opinion.

Fashions in speech, conduct, and dress are suggested by movies. Many people believe that cigarette smoking surged overwhelmingly in popularity in the last century because most leading men and women, and even the supporting players, made smoking seem natural, easy and normal -- even high class -- in movies.

Few would doubt the power of movies today to sway public views about fashion, ethics and politics.

Movies for Self-Defense

What do most American movies teach about the right to self- defense? About the right to keep and bear arms?

In times past, there were countless "western" movies. Although some of these improperly glorified or tried to justify white men killing Indians, many others were morality stories of good versus evil. Frequently in western movies the audience would see self-defense in action. A lone woman picking up a firearm to defend herself and her family. An armed boy helping his dad ward off attackers. Stranded settlers organizing to stand watch -- and fight off -- robbers and marauders.

Western movies of this sort, however, are dead and gone. Last year's film about the Revolutionary War, The Patriot, was criticized for showing young boys using firearms even for an unquestionably good cause.

Movies Against Guns

Hollywood in the last 30 years has turned 180 degrees against the right to keep and bear arms. Anti-gun films, however, mostly don't preach "gun control" openly. As always, movies teach by showing what is "normal", mysterious and "cool" -- and by showing what is ridiculous, dangerous and uncool.

In Woody Allen's recent comedy, Don't Drink the Water, the only gun in the movie is portrayed as unnecessary, awkward, and inherently dangerous. Viewers get the message that nutty New Yorkers will play cowboy and accidentally shoot innocent people in all directions. By watching the players, the audience learned that guns are terribly risky and people are too crazy to use them properly.

Last year's Charlie's Angels movie played against defensive gun use, too. The three heroines didn't use firearms at all, and the female stars pointedly mentioned that fact in publicity interviews.

In many other movies, the only people with firearms are either the criminals and crazies, or the police and military. Die Hard. Con Air. Air Force One. Only rarely does a modern film show an average person, living in the city or suburbs, driving away thugs without shooting -- which is the most common type of defensive gun use. Practically never do films show wholesome family recreational shooting.

It's time for a change, so JPFO is taking a hard look at the movie industry. Maybe we need to expose the heavy anti-gun bias that is woven into most modern films. Maybe we need to make a pro-self defense movie of our own.

We Need Movie Critics -- Like You!

If you watch movies at all, then you can help with our project. It's easy: just tell us about movies since 1970 that you thought were especially anti-gun or anti-self defense, and in a sentence or two explain why.

We need this information to help build a strategy to take on Hollywood. We need the information from actual movie viewers, not from professional critics. That's why we urgently need your help.

Please, write, fax, or e-mail your suggestions to us:

Guns in Movies
JPFO, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027


Fax: (262) 673-9746
e-mail: movies@jpfo.org

After we receive and tally the feedback we get from readers like you, we will announce our findings and our plan.

New! Gun clubs can become JPFO affiliates for only $40 annual dues. Affiliate with both JPFO and CCOPS at the same time: only $59.95! Call for details.

Thank these sponsors for this column:

Fred's -- Military M-14 Stocks & Accessories
Fulton Armory -- Precision M1 Garand, M14, M1 Carbine & AR15 Weapon Systems
Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc.
JPFO members & supporters


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