The latest gun control proposal, if you can even call it that, is for guns to get the cigarette treatment on TV.
As many know cigarettes and tobacco in general are becoming less and less common in movies and TV, anti-tobacco activists claim that this has helped reduce the number of tobacco users. Gun Control activists have seen this “trend” and are now arguing that if guns are removed from entertainment then gun violence will be reduced.
From The Hill:
In recent years, we have been examining trends in the use of guns in movies and TV. In one study, we found that the use of guns in top-grossing movies rated PG-13 — open to children of all ages — had increased to the point where their use was more frequent than in R-rated movies, the traditional home for such violence.
More recently, we examined trends in the use of guns for violent purposes in top-ranked primetime TV dramas, notably in the police, medical and legal genres. We found that from 2000 to 2018, the amount of gun violence doubled as a percentage of those shows. Even more concerning, the proportion of violence attributable to guns had also steadily increased over that period. A viewer of those shows will not only see the increasing use of guns but when there is violence, they’ll see guns as the weapon of choice for inflicting harm on others.
We compared the trend in TV gun violence with the proportion of U.S. homicides attributable to firearms over the same period. Here we saw some surprising parallels, especially for young people. The more TV shows portrayed the use of guns in violent scenes in a year, the greater the proportion of homicides committed with guns in that year. Although it did so for other age groups, the relation was strongest for those ages of 15-24.
Would this surprise the gun industry? It really shouldn’t because product placements work. The tobacco industry Master Settlement Agreement banned this kind of product placement for cigarettes in the 1990s. Apart from product placement, research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that the more adolescents saw movies with characters smoking cigarettes, the more likely they were to start smoking. Couldn’t something similar be happening with guns?
Many see this as ridiculous and some are suggesting that Hollywood would never go along with this as many of the top films use firearms. Films like John Wick and TV Shows like CSI feature guns on every installment and simply would not be the same without them. It would be almost impossible to do any war film, which tend to do well, and cop shows just wouldn’t be able to exist.