Major Hollywood Showrunners Sign Pledge To Depict Guns More Responsibly Going Forward

As legislators continue to stall out on any meaningful action in the wake of the mass shooting that left 19 elementary students and two teachers dead last month, Hollywood is making a plan to curb harmful depictions of gun use on screen. As reported by Variety, a group of 200 writers, producers, and directors put their names to an open letter pledging to be more thoughtful about how guns are shown in film and on television moving forward.

The letter, which was shared by the comprehensive gun control nonprofit Brady, acknowledges that changes to on-screen depictions of guns are far from a remedy to America's mass shooting problem, but also outlines some potentially helpful key changes that every showrunner and filmmaker can keep in mind. The pledge features a three-point plan, which includes the following commitments:

-Use our creativity to model responsible gun ownership and show consequences for reckless gun use. We will make a conscious effort to show characters locking their guns safely and making them inaccessible to children.

-Have at least one conversation during pre-production regarding the way guns will be portrayed on screen and consider alternatives that could be employed without sacrificing narrative integrity.

-Limit scenes including children and guns, bearing in mind that guns are now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents.

A pledge for more mindful depictions

The letter asks filmmakers to be mindful of the ways their depictions could impact viewers, while also recognizing that "guns are prominently featured in TV and movies in every corner of the globe, but only America has a gun violence epidemic." The pledge is clear about the fact that it's not asking anyone to stop showing guns on screen altogether, which would be unrealistic, but it asserts that these small changes could make a positive impact nonetheless. The letter also points out that cultural conversations about topics like marriage equality, smoking, and even the use of seatbelts have been driven by on-screen depiction in the past.

"We are under no illusions that these actions are a substitute for common sense gun legislation," the authors write, specifically calling out "lax gun laws" and legislators who are "more afraid of losing power than saving lives." Still, this seems like a very reasonable attempt to educate viewers on gun safety and not put the image of kids with guns in front of impressionable young viewers' eyes. The pledge has been signed by filmmakers and stars including Shonda Rhimes, Judd Apatow, Damon Lindelof, Marti Noxon, Adam Mckay, the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" team, and many more.