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I went to the movies with the wife last night to watch Seven Days in Utopia. While in the lobby, I counted ten depictions of actors with guns in the various billboard advertisements. One had finger on the trigger in the process of shooting. Eight had a finger on the trigger in various manners while handling/holding the gun. One of these had a finger on the trigger while racking the slide . . . what could possibly go wrong? Killer Elite? I don’t think so. One of the bad boys had proper trigger discipline; kudos to Robert De Niro. I have only noticed guns in the media the last few months. But I have to say, overall the depictions sadden me greatly; both in their glorification/excitation of the tool and their depictions of its mis-handling. Is this part of becoming a gun guy? Sigh.

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  1. I cringe often seeing poor gun handling on TV and in movies. It’s a good thing. If gun enthusiasts are going to be insistent on anything, it should be safety.

  2. You know, maybe you’ve put your finger on something (pun intended). There have been many campaigns to change how certain things are depicted in Hollywood (cigarettes, animal violence, etc.). Why not have a campaign to show only the safe or proper handling of firearms? The logic is the same. People who have not been trained, and who pick up a firearm, are very likely to imitate what they’ve seen, even if it’s only what they’ve seen on television or in the movies (perhaps ESPECIALLY what they’ve seen on television or in the movies). Such a campaign, if driven by the firearm-owning community, would not only be helpful to the larger community (because it would raise the understanding and appreciation of firearms safety), it would also be helpful to us. It would counteract the silly but prevalent idea that we’re just a bunch of wild west yahoos who don’t care any more about firearms safety than the folks in Hollywood do.

    • Excellent! Most gun firing in Hollywood would render the shooters deaf as well (picture the action in the building garage in ‘The Town’).

  3. People used to complain that guns were not depicted now you complain that they are. I thought you would want guns to be normalised.

  4. Criticizing Hollywood for the poor trigger discipline of the characters is like going to a Star Wars movie and objecting that sound doesn’t travel in space. Is that where they lost you?

    Everything about Hollywood’s depiction of guns is false. In Hollywood, guns are used to right wrongs, solve problems, and settle scores in ways that could not and will not ever occur in reality. The deus ex machina of the Hollywood crime drama is the firearm. In Hollywood, the gun is the cop’s most important tool. In the real world, it’s one of the cop’s least important tools. In Hollywood, a Colt Army fires an infinite number of rounds, but this is not a production oversight or continuity error, it’s part of a deliberate fantasy. It’s all baloney and it was designed to be baloney. In a Hollywood crime drama, there was never any intent of making it one bit more “real” than Star Wars. Any so-called “realism” is only for dramatic effect. And you guys are sore because the actors employ poor trigger discipline? Really?

    • So you are upset because we are upset by unsafe firearms handling in Hollywood? Really?

      What if correcting Hollywood could save just one life? Would you still be upset then?

      • I’m not upset at all. The word is amused, I’m sure. I go to the movies and see guns portrayed in the manner of escapist fantasy. You guys go to the movies and see poor trigger-finger discipline. This is funny to me, I can’t deny it.

        • Details like trigger discipline on guns and proper holding of cameras are important to me because those are signs the director and the actors did their homework and put some effort into the movie. A director who sweats the details is a director who cares about the product he makes. What spoiled “Jurassic Park” for me wan’t the lame computer usage (“This is Linux! I know this!”) or the easily-cleared stovepipe jam on the SPAS-12 shotgun, it was the beach scene in “San José, Costa Rica” with Corona signs all over the place.

          San José is landlocked (I should know, I lived there). And Corona is sold in Mexico.


          In Jurassic Park, we’re being asked to accept the idea that dinosaurs can return to the present day, and in order for that idea to work, the rest of the movie has to be like the present day. The minute there’s a disconnect between what the movie shows us as an everyday setting and our actual everyday lives, that’s one more hurdle for our suspension of disbelief to cross.

          Unless, of course, you’re willing to believe anything the media tells you, which is often the case…

        • What a bizarre notion – that you would find a focus on improved gun safety to be amusing and a reason to try to feel superior. There is no doubt that humans are impacted by television and motion picture images, and there is also no doubt that nothing causes negligent discharges more than poor trigger discipline. “Keep your finger off the trigger unless you are preparing to shoot what the firearm is pointed at” is one of the four basic truths of gun safety. Ramming that idea home across as many fronts as possible might save a life or two.

          Or, it could be a reason to be snarky. Your choice.

        • So you are amused at our concern over Hollywood doing something that could lead to someone being maimed or killed? Does that not indicate that you yourself use “escapist fantasy” to make yourself believe that we are funny when we are worried by something that could easily be changed and could potentially save lives?

          Are you saying that it is OK for Hollywood to keep treating firearms like toys in their movies when that might lead to someone being seriously injured or losing their life? Is that the extent that you are willing to go to to make your point? Is one or two lives acceptable as long as it moves your agenda forward?

        • You guys think the problem with Hollywood’s depiction of firearms is TRIGGER DISCIPLINE? Really? Don’t you know how stupid and silly that will seem to people with the slightest sense of perspective? Don’t you realize that you are caricaturing yourselves?

          • Not sure where to start. I was not trying to redress 100 years of Hollywood excess. I was just suggesting that responsible gun owners might consider bringing to light egregious examples of blatantly dangerous firearm handling techniques. A moron on a movie poster with his finger on the trigger is going to cause a negligent discharge. People who do not handle firearms often, and who do not take firearms safety courses, are going to be influenced by images in the media.

            Now, OK, the movie itself is a silly glorification of inappropriate and unlikely violence (I guess; I have not seen it because it opens in three hours and I have no intention of watching it). But, the poster is out there. A lot of people see it. And it will subtly reinforce inappropriate notions of safe firearm handling.

            Does the anti-smoking lobby care whether the person on the screen is a “good guy” or a “bad guy” when they complain about any movie depicting smoking? No.

            You seem to get a lot of ego gratification out of trolling here, and far be it from me to interfere with anyone’s source of pleasure. But, there are basic, common-sense, life-saving rules around firearms safety. Again, no one here said anything about reforming Hollywood. Stopping Hollywood from glamorizing cigarettes was not meant to reform Hollywood. Stopping Hollywood from glamorizing cigarettes was only meant to limit the harm.

            • This movie is about murder and mayhem and you think their trigger discipline sends the wrong message? Don’t you see how absurd that is?

  5. Is anyone surprised that De Niro has it right? The guy is a master actor, he’s not some joker that spends half the flight time to the shoot location researching his character. In his defense, Clive Owen is a pretty good actor. But…he’s British, they don’t know how to work guns there*.

    *Unless they’re in the British Army or Royal Marines, those guys are good.

  6. Is this part of becoming a gun guy?


    And don’t even get me started on how 99% of Hollywood actors and extras hold cameras.

    As for wanting Hollywood to show guns correctly, I was at my local indoor range last week and have the shooters there were using the classic Hollywood teacup grip, which means they won’t holding a pistol accurately or safely. They had to have learned that from somewhere, and I’m betting it’s the silver screen.

    • +1. I see that all the time, too. However, the corny TV drama grip is the least of the problems. Just think of all the rest of the happy horseshit they’ve learned about firearms from TV and the movies. You can see this thinking on display every day at TTAG. Yesterday’s in-depth topic: shooting an attacker in the leg.

  7. Hollywood’s portrayal of piss poor gun handling used to really bother me. Then I realized that thugs and criminals imitate what they on film. That would give us the edge in a situation. Those who are truly interested in proper firearms handling will seek out others who have the knowledge. Those with the knowledge will help. Leave Hollywood to teach gangbangers and the like.

  8. Whether a character handles a gun well or not should be part of their character. When I see a character who is a professional soldier, mercenary, or what have you, I would expect to see them carrying and handling a gun properly. Anything else, and my suspension of disbelief takes a hit.

    On the other hand, seeing a petty thug or idiot criminal handling a gun professionally would equally damage my immersion in the film. These are the kind of people I would expect to wave loaded guns around with their fingers on the trigger, or tuck a loaded and cocked gun into their waistband. Seeing some stoned gangbanger pull his shirt up to draw from a SERPA holster would wreck my expectations (of course, a clever director might intentionally do this.)

    Gun handling can be a storytelling tool just as much as what a character wears or how he delivers his dialogue. The characters in such a brilliantly titled film as “Killer Elite” don’t seem like they would be the professional, safe types.

  9. “Is this part of becoming a gun guy? Sigh.”

    It’s part of becoming a gun-guy in the same sense that critiquing medical dramas is a part of being in the field of emergency medicine.

      • Actually, my favorite example of incompetence by hollywooders was in The Mechanic (2011) — they did the typical training montage, in which they included a Barrett .50 caliber rifle. The montage goes into slow motion to show a shell casing spinning in mid-air after ejection, CLEARLY showing by the crimp marks that it is a blank. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.

        • Because the story of an elite professional assassin and his young apprentice was so realistic and true-to-life. Happens every day.

  10. “Is this part of becoming a gun guy?”

    Just wait until you start counting rounds in between mag changes or when you can’t ignore the lack of aiming or how EVERY bad guy has a massive arsenal of full autos, SBRs, and explosives.

  11. Maybe the media portray guns like that so it can help the Brady campaign have “proof” that guns are unsafe and kill people on their own. And I agree that certain characters in movies should show better discipline…I mean, kids do see this stuff. But also, all the asshat thugs and such do take from movies….which can both cause problems and be an advantage to your own self defense. Also, I do agree that some coked up druggie isn’t going to have the same training and gear as a professional of sorts…like a soldier. I’m still waiting to see someone castrate themselves with a bullet in a movie

    • Already been done. 8 Mile – look at Cheddar Bob suffering Pants Positive Safety when he shoves a revolver back in his waistband and shoots his penis off.

  12. Since I have a 10 year old son who is becoming a gun guy – I love Hollywood mistakes. He and I use them to talk about proper handling of firearms. He now catches it and groans and starts trashtalking the actors like they can hear him.

    Sometimes I wish they could. The mistakes of Hollywood have helped me ingrain proper training for him.

  13. As a lawyer, I used to gag on the way Hollywood depicted courtroom scenes. It took the fun out of most movies where those scenes were pivotal. Tempus fugit, and now I gag on the way TV genuflects to POTUS and yearn for some of those crappy movies.

  14. Just remember that the Magoo is a self righteous prig like ALGORE. Even when he says something I agree with it is like hearing nails on a chalkboard.

    I used to get bent out of shape when watching war movies because the inaccuracies would drive me crazy. Then I realized that this is just entertainment and not work of history. Accuracy is good but it is no substitute for a good script and character development.

    I don’t think anybody except gun guys and gals would notice these kinds of details. Your average 14 year old who is going to watch this movie wouldn’t notice good trigger discipline if it hit them in the face.

  15. It’s a movie. It’s fiction. It’s make-believe. Why so surprised that basic rules of gun handling aren’t followed?

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