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Looks like Canada has its own film production-driven gun problems. As we reported earlier today, dreamy Brad Pitt’s latest flick was raided by the Budapest SWAT squad for shipping fully-functional arms into Hungary. Not prop guns, but real AKs and other rifles. John Paul Jarvis of reports that the Great White North is having its own problems with illegally diverted guns that were ostensibly shipped in to the country to be used as movie props…

BC is the third largest centre for film and television production in the world, behind Los Angeles and New York and has been called ‘Hollywood North’ since the early 1970s. In 2010 there were 246 movies made in BC with revenues of $ 1.5 billion. Hey, the place is scenic.

These movies require props—usually actual guns—for spy and police action, as directors tailor Canadian cityscapes in Ontario and BC to replicate almost any urban hellhole in the world. Accordingly, specific arms need to be imported for authenticity.

They gotta maintain that authenticity, right? After all, the Armed Intelligentsia are watching and ready to blow atomized cherry Icee through their noses all over the stadium theater seats in front of them at the first sign of bogus firearm casting.

For years unscrupulous dealers would sell off these often exotic, top of the line weapons illegally with little chance of reprisal—that is until the Royal Canadian Mounted Police spotted a trend in interchanged barrels featured on seized criminal weapons. The Mounties linked them back to other weapons through lab analysis and began to investigate.

Because these ‘props’ are purchased in-bulk, are usually very high end and often the same model, the barrels are usually interchangeable.  Gangs would often purchase the whole diverted shipment and change the barrels regularly,supposedly to avoid detection from ballistics tests.

Leave it to Dudley and the RCMP to uncover the nefarious plot. But once (Hungary) is interesting. Twice might well be evidence of a pattern, n’est-ce pas? Is something going on here?

Could movie propmasters be raking in cash on the side by smuggling much-desired weaponry into countries with strict gun control laws under the cloak of a location shoot? Is this how movie production companies finance those stratospheric headliner salaries? Does the talent who sign on for a percentage of the gross get a cut of this juicy piece, too? Inquiring minds want to know.

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  1. Why would film production teams do that? I can’t imagine they are making significantly more money smuggling weapons than they are for making good movies. Unless it is lone prop guys merely looking to pad their pockets a little bit. Thats the only reasoning I can see with this.

    • Yep. They had a killer toy version when I was a kid. The Starsky and Hutch set was awesome as well, full size 1911 and full size Python in one box with handcuffs!

  2. “Could movie propmasters be raking in cash on the side by smuggling much-desired weaponry into countries with strict gun control laws under the cloak of a location shoot?”

    I think that you are drawing the wrong conclusion. Either you’re ascribing malice to actions with which no malice is associated, or the goal was to get them into the country in question with their use in the movie as a bonus that helped legitimize them.

    Basically, either they didn’t intend to end up with fully functional firearms at the end (by converting them to fire blanks, either before or after getting them in-country), or they are illegal arms dealers doing movies on the side (instead of the reverse as you suggest above).


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