CA state senator backs off movie set gun ban

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Following the shooting on the set of the movie Rust, Hollywood started looking at how they approach firearms. Some productions have said they’re not using real guns anymore. Others are looking at something different.

Either way, the industry responded.

However, this is California we’re talking about here. They don’t like guns and while the movie industry tends to get a pass on all things firearm, some lawmakers couldn’t help themselves. In particular, state Sen. Dave Cortese wanted to ban firearms on all movie sets.

Now, amid pressure from that same industry, Cortese is backing off.

After Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed on the set of “Rust” in October, California State Sen. Dave Cortese proposed banning firearms on film sets.

But now Cortese has backed off from that idea after getting pushback from the entertainment industry.

Cortese introduced a bill last week that would impose credentialing requirements on production armorers and would limit the use of live ammunition to certain reality TV shows, such as those featuring hunting or shooting competitions. But the bill stops short of banning all functional guns — including blank-firing weapons — from film and TV sets.

“My preference would have been if we could not use blanks at all in any kind of production,” Cortese said in an interview. But in recent weeks he got a clear message from film armorers: “We have to have blanks.”

“They convinced me,” Cortese said. “That was pretty much a universal concern.”

This is the problem with people trying to regulate an industry they don’t understand.

Yes, one can easily see asking questions about why an industry does something, but Cortese just decided to try and decide what they needed.

And they told him why he was wrong.

Unfortunately, he listened only because it was a favored industry. If the firearm industry had said something to him, he wouldn’t have cared.

Instead, we’ve got him proposing a state credentialing system for armorers, which is still wrong, but it’s a different kind of stupid.

Look, for all their many sins–and there are many–the movie industry actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to gun safety. Before the shooting on the Rust set, the last firearm-related fatality on the set was Brandon Lee back in 1993.

Plus, it really seems that the problem was that the industry’s standard practices simply weren’t being followed.

Now, keep in mind that there are around 600 movies made each year in the United States, give or take whatever during a given year. Many of those movies involve guns.

And yet, it took 27 years for there to be another incident, and even then it was because the standard practices don’t appear to have been followed? Sounds to me like Hollywood does a pretty decent job of preventing these kinds of things.

But some lawmakers hear “gun” and jump all over it. They can’t help but trip their desire to ban guns in any context they can get away with.

Cortese wanted to do just that, but he ran into the problem of the film industry. They’re powerful in California politics and he couldn’t afford to upset them.

If only he were that open to law-abiding Californians who want firearms for their own lawful use.