Misrepresentation of Guns by the Entertainment Industry

a little gun handling lesson with Gabby and Gil OzeriWhen was the last time you saw a firearms error in a movie? Some of us are better able to overlook these gross over estimations of firepower than others; I’ll admit, I’m not such a person. We’ve all seen those sequences when a single shot from a cop’s side arm, knocks a bad guy off his feet and over a car. What about those scenes when an automatic weapon has no muzzle rise and bullets hit all the intended targets? We know it’s complete fiction, but does the average joe?

This weekend I was invited to watch the filming of a pilot episode of a Comedy Central/Sony collaborative sitcom, called “Duty”. It’s about two Chicago cops, one of whom is played by my step-brother. While I was there, the scene they were filming called for my bro to accidentally fire his pistol while he and his partner are inside their closed vehicle. As the show is a comedy, I gathered that the writers were making a joke about a bumbling cop who might fire his weapon unintentionally. However, as I thought about the concept later, I realized that I should probably have an issue with this idea.

Behind the Scenes Note: The script did not acknowledge the temporary hearing loss the two might have experience after the gun was fired. The actors tried the scene in this fashion once, but didn’t feel it “worked” and returned to the original plan.

More often than I would like, I hear about an “accidental discharge” of a gun. I know it’s very rare, but when they happen, it’s makes news. Unfortunately, the average, uneducated about guns, Joe off the street, doesn’t realize that this kind of firearms injury is highly unlikely. He also doesn’t realize how easy it is to keep such an “accident” from occurring. Yet this situation has made it into a sitcom script and I was sitting and watching it unfold. I told the writers of the show that I was available to consult and took my family to the range. What else could I do?

So now I must ask you: as a Gun nut, do you find gun humor like this funny? Do you think it perpetuates a fear of fire arms by the general public? What about a fear of cops? Am I over-reacting? Should I just go quietly back to my blogging chair, and be nothing but happy for my bro on his “big break”?

29 thoughts on “Misrepresentation of Guns by the Entertainment Industry”

  1. At least with comedy, I suppose there’s a chance someone might understand that it’s not how things really work. It’s the other issues (such as the divinely-guided accuracy) that causes problems and leads to, “Why couldn’t he just shoot the gun out of his hand?” or “Why does anyone need more than [x number] of shots?” (after all, they just watched a movie where every shot hit and each single shot stopped the bad guy!).

  2. The other thing that really torques my rod is when they portray the sound of a glock being cocked like a revolver or they show the actor pulling the trigger on a Glock or other pistol, slide locked back on empty, and it is clicking like the sound of dropping the striker on an empty chamber. #Gunguyproblems

    1. I forgot those. Or when spinning the cylinder of a DA revolver ticks like a single action.

  3. Gun law ignorance is what gets me. When a cop in Wyoming says “the gun was registered. ..” it grinds the gears for me (Longmire I’m looking at you).

    1. Oh god, right? That part drove me nuts. I was actually yelling at my TV “REGISTERED WHERE, JACKASS? WYOMING DOESN’T HAVE A GUN REGISTRY!”

      1. I also screamed at the TV when Longmire mentioned registration. But then why should I expect an Australian vegetarian actor portraying a Wyoming sheriff to know that he’s insulting the state he portrays.

    2. Leaves me yelling at the TV, (much like the SOTUs from the last 10-15 years.) It’s apparently some kind of script writer crutch because it seems like any show or movie that might show a gun, there will be some mention of registered/unregistered weapon.
      Or in my tinfoil/conspiracy hat, maybe it’s their way of making us accept gun registration as a way of life. If they feed us this garbage in the media for long enough, then when it comes to actual laws requiring it, we’ll have been made so oblivious to it, that we just accept it.

      (Deep breaths!)

      1. I dunno man, you might wanna leave on the foil hat. I’ve been working at a gun store for a few years now and it’s almost alarming the number of people who, after buying the gun, ask where to go to get it registered.

        1. HEY!
          Give newbies a chance. (Such as myself!) Different strokes for different states. I live in New England, do not own a side arm,yet. I have NO idea what the process is……..

      2. It’s not a tin foil/conspiracy. Twenty years of pushing the Gay lifestyle on TV has changed public perceptions. So why not with guns. I know many people who will not enter a house if they know there are guns there. I’ve read that the Marine in the Mexico jail had those three guns in his pickup because his buddy’s wife wouldn’t let them in the house.

  4. Makes me think of a particular Pulp Fiction scene in a car.

    I personally find it amusing when anyone in any movie seemingly does not keep one in the chamber. Law enforcement and criminals alike.

  5. The problem with telling them how difficult it is to have an AD is they always bring up the youtube videos showing the cop who managed it in front of a classroom full of people. Then you have to teach them statistics, as well as gun handling.

    Don’t get me wrong. What you’re thinking about doing is a good idea. Just expect issues.

  6. What really gets me are the scenes on pro gun shows that show a gunshot causing large explosions. What’s that tell the the gun-unlearned?

    1. Yeeaaa,
      Hi..I’d like to buy a box of those exploding bullets .45 acp…………..

  7. Uncocked 1911’s pointed as if they were ready to fire.

    Guns that make a clicking sound when empty that don’t have second strike capabilities.

    “You check that safety?” On a Glock…

    No cops seem to carry condition one in TV shows

    Cross draw rigs… WHY!?

    Leg rigs that sit at the knee and flop around.

    Unlimited ammo with no reloads. Though Justified gets this right most of the time it seems.

    Once I saw a CSI type show with a “spent cartridge” that still had a bullet in it.

    People slinging rifles over the wrong should, but this could be due to the character not being educated.

    Etc…

    1. This is getting to be fun. Cross draw LOOKS cool. (Lee Van Cleef often carried so). In NCIS, Jenny Sheppard has a Glock. Gibbs has removed the mag. Not only can Jenny not tell there is no ammo in her Glock!!, Gibbs returns a 10 round ‘ban’ SIG mag to her. I believe firing and other sound effects are added much later. And sometimes there are special effects reasons. Gary Cooper in Sargent York picks up two P-08’s and uses one to stop the famous German bayonet charge. I reality he had an M-1911 45acp. It seems they couldn’t get a 1911 to work with the blanks they had and could with a 1911. It’s also the reason you still see silenced revolvers. All though there is never a reason for the ridiculously small silencers they use.

    2. Sorry: It’s In reality. And “they could with a P-08, not a 1911. My typing STINKS.

  8. I can forgive mistakes in a comedy. Where I draw a line is with the “serious” dramas treatment of guns and gun handling. Example: NCIS LA has had more criminals use fully automatic weapons than actual incidents since World War 2 ended. Effects: NCIS LA and The Closer. The first had one of the regulars hit at least five times in the torso from a SMG. He was back on duty next season. The second had a regular shot at least four times in the torso from an AR 15. He too was back next season. There are too many of these to recount. I just add that a home owner/business man almost always loses a gunfight on TV. No one ever has a CCW. No decent person is “into” guns. Gun shop owners always hate the COPS on TV and vise versa. Every gun store owner I know is on a first name basis with most local LEO’s.

  9. The lauded WWII miniseries/documentary on the History Channel… Americans, Germans, and Brits all seen using SMLE rifles. Chapped my onions.

  10. I think The League is the only comedy that genuinely has me laughing with ridiculous gun antics. Namely, Paco entering a room and saying, “Is that a firearm? Toss it here!”

    Having worked in the industry, there’s just so many places where errors can creep in. It starts with writers that don’t know guns, or gun laws, or ballistics. It carries further with productions that don’t take the time to hire good advisers and stunt coordinators. Or, when such people are hired, their experience and insight are sometimes/often ignored by directors and producers for the sake of “creative vision” and looking cool. Most actors do what they do based on movies they’ve seen, so you can imagine how useless many of them can be. Since pretty much any sound that isn’t main characters talking is added in later, the potential for crap continues. Sound design people typically have an interest in getting things right – they’re very anal about recording each and every mechanical noise firearms make, and labeling them as such. The problem is, said sounds often aren’t dramatic enough, either in their ears or in the ears of directors/producers/studio execs. And everyone knows cocking a pistol or racking a shotgun is the only way to show you mean business.

    It really is the best example of too many chefs in the kitchen.

    1. They also like to make it sound like it’s already the way they want it. Or, sometimes they ignore the laws on the books to make it seem there are no gun control laws. The infamous “Gun Show” loophole.

  11. (Hav’nt read any of above comments)……Be happy for your brother and take him out shooting more often!!
    His suggestions will be taken more seriously than yours,(no disrespect), If the film company uses you as a consultent ….they would have to pay you…..

  12. I really get tired of hearing the “click click” of slides being racked whenever several cops(or bad guys for that matter) draw their weapons. If you are carrying a weapon at the ready (cops), there should be no need for the slide racking sound upon the draw. This seems to be a hold over from the old westerns, where the Single Action revolvers all needed cocked before firing. Maybe the uneducated public has not figured this out…

    1. At least they don’t throw their guns (very often). Some of this is dramatic license. I.E. Holding the gun next to the face.

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