Why Alec Baldwin Shooting Has No Bearing On Guns In America

AP Photo/John Minchillo

The Alec Baldwin shooting has been the biggest gun story of the past several days and for obvious reasons. I mean, a rabidly anti-Second Amendment, big-name Hollywood movie star kills the director of photography through someone’s negligence and, well, it’s going to draw a lot of attention.

Yet what happened with Baldwin was one of those things that generally can only happen in Hollywood.

While negligence happens everywhere, only in Hollywood can the situation be so muddled that it’s difficult to tell just who was being negligent in the first place.

Some, however, think this will change Americans’ views on guns.

As details continue to emerge surrounding the Alec Baldwin prop-gun shooting last week that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, another story about firearms in America is also unfolding — namely, the fact the gun sales have been soaring since the start of the pandemic.

And though the matters may seem unrelated, some do see a connection in that the Baldwin shooting could prompt discussions around gun safety and usage.

Certainly, that could be the case in Hollywood, where already there are calls for rethinking how guns should be handled on film and television sets.

But some are also saying the shooting could serve as a warning for society as a whole about the risks and dangers of guns, given how widespread firearm ownership is becoming.

“People are injured and die by firearms in so many different situations,” said Josh Horowitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.

To his credit, Horowitz doesn’t delude himself into believing Americans will somehow rollover because of this, but the fact that someone actually researched this story tells you that some people really do seem to believe it.

They think this has some relationship with the ordinary American and how we handle firearms when nothing could be further from the truth.

For most Americans, if point a gun at another person, it’s because that person is a threat to us or someone else. We’re not doing it for entertainment purposes. It’s just not something any of us consider doing.

Hollywood is a different animal. They do all kinds of things that endanger the lives of actors and crew, and plenty of people have paid the price for it over the years. Not just with guns, either.

The average person on the streets realizes this. They know Hollywood isn’t real life–though, admittedly, a lot of people see stuff in movies and think it reflects reality, which it doesn’t–and they can look at this and recognize it as, at worst, a tragic accident.

I mean, Hollywood is known for the casting couch, drug use, and a host of other things that wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else. Why would this be any different?

Don’t get me wrong, a discussion of the safe handling of firearms is probably a good thing. People learning that no, you don’t point guns at people because stuff happens is ultimately a win for everyone. Yet even that is only going to have limited reach.

The ones you have to worry about aren’t going to learn from this.

So, at the end of the day, the only splash from the incident that will last the news cycle will be for the family of Halyna Hutchins who was killed.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET