Is Hollywood indoctrinating audiences to view guns as dangerous? At times, some would say that it seems that way. Recently, attention has been drawn to the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC), a non-profit organization with the mission of providing “information, awareness and understanding of major health and social issues” among the entertainment industries and to audiences. The organization’s stated goal is the accurate depiction of these issues in Hollywood and beyond, and it bills itself as a resource to writers, directors, and producers. However, the organization recently earned the ire of some gun rights advocates after The Daily Caller pointed out that EIC offers a list of firearm “depiction suggestions” on its website. Second Amendment advocates and groups, such as the NRA, accused the lengthy list as propaganda that demonizes guns and gun ownership.
Here are a few of the entries of that list from the EIC website:
- Consider the story potential that may exist in a family filing suit against a gun manufacturer for injuries or death sustained by a defective firearm that misfired.
- Try emphasizing the fact that introducing a gun into an argument lethalizes anger: What could have been resolved with just harsh words, or even cuts and bruises, may end up with a death. Guns don’t allow for cooling off or reconciling once the momentary or situational anger subsides.
- Consider reflecting the reality that homeowners often freeze up or tremble so badly when trying to use a gun in self-defense that they are unable to deploy it. Or show them as being too frozen in fear to even get the gun.
- Where appropriate to the story, consider portraying a teenage girl threatening to break up with her boyfriend unless he gets rid of his gun – or a boy doing the same with a gun-owning girlfriend.
- Consider depicting the reality that women are far more likely to be shot by husbands or lovers than by an intruder. Odds are that a gun in her home will be used against her rather than in her defense.
- Consider showing someone who is attempting to use a gun in self-defense being overpowered by the attacker who then uses the gun against him or her.
- Consider depicting people as feeling less safe, rather than more safe, when they find their neighbors becoming increasingly armed.
- If appropriate to the story, consider exploring a gun dealer’s or a gun supplier’s remorse about the harm done by someone to whom he or she furnished a firearm.
- Consider having a character use a gun in what he/she believes is self-defense only to be charged with murder or manslaughter because it’s determined that excessive or unjustified lethal force was deployed.
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) criticized the list and the EIC for its long-running campaign to promote gun control. The NRA-ILA noted that in 2005, the EIC mailed out 1,900 copies of its “guide” to firearm depiction to Hollywood executives, directors, producers, and others working in the entertainment industry.
“While the entertainment industry’s assault on our rights did not begin with EIC’s efforts, EIC has been engaged in their anti-gun mission for more than 15 years, with their ‘Firearm Depiction Tip-Sheet’ launching in 2000,” the NRA-ILA stated.
The EIC, in its defense, merely said that the list of suggestions were created as a resource, and should not be seen as something that hampers the creative process. The website briefly went down as the list was shared in online forums and social media, but has recently been restored with no apparent changes. What do you think? Are lists of this sort counterproductive?