TV Gun Gripe

I was watching the otherwise excellent TV series Longmire the other night on Netflix, and they kept doing one of those little “Hollywood” things that drives me nuts. To give the readers a little backstory, Longmire is set in the fictional Absaroka County of Wyoming, which in the show’s setting is located about two miles from the front gates of BFE.


Depicted is the show’s definition of a traffic jam, which also displays the gorgeous rugged terrain and for the most part, the rural setting of the show. It is such then that the following nit bothers me so greatly: multiple times in the show, characters in the show, both LE characters and non-LE characters referred to privately owned guns as “registered” or “not registered.”

Which, every time that happens makes me want to shout at my iPad “WYOMING DOESN’T HAVE A GUN REGISTRY!” In fact, a quick check of Wyoming’s gun laws indicate that it’s a pretty casual state, with very few restrictions on gun ownership, period. Which would be expected from the actual Wild West.

But this does get me around to the point of this; which is twofold. First, little things like that really take me out of the show. If your main character is the sheriff of a rural county, he and his deputies would know damn well that there’s no gun registry in Wyoming, and that Wyoming has strong state preemption that would prevent a county or city from establishing a gun registry.

Secondly, I don’t think that it’s malice on the part of the show’s writers. I’ve seen suggestions on the internet that when they do that, the “Hollywood liberals” are trying to “normalize a gun registry” or something like that. I don’t believe that’s the case, I think it’s a matter of simple ignorance. Most TV writers would be shocked to find out that there isn’t California style gun registration in every state in the nation, because they’re kind of insulated.

Don’t let this little rant turn you off from watching Longmire, though. I think it’s a great show, it’s well acted and very well written, with of course the obvious caveat generated by this post. Sure, they cram a lifetime’s worth of law enforcement excitement into 2 seasons so far, but a show about sitting around a rural sheriff’s office talking about cows wouldn’t be very exciting.


  1. So true. Katie Sackhoff’s facial expressions alone are worth watching the show for.

    Also the uncocked 1911 kinda bothers me.

    1. I’m willing to forgive the uncocked 1911 because I’ve known real guys of that particular…vintage who insisted that hammer down on a loaded chamber, safety off was the “best” way to carry a 1911. It’s authentically curmudgeonly.

      Personally, I think that they should have given him a S&W Model 25 Mountain Gun as a primary, because that would have been SICK.

  2. That particular nitpick, and a few others that appear in episodes, are the reason I cannot watch the show. If the writers really knew how we live out West, particularly in that part, they would not make such glaring errors. I really liked the show overall, but these errors just raise the hair on the back of my neck something fierce. This keeps me from really enjoying the show. Katie Sackhoff’s character I loved; eastern big city girl trying to figure out how people exist out West.

    1. Mark; It’s not ignorance. There is an agenda. Good guns are ‘registered’ as are there owners. Bad guns are not. And their owners are bad also. Have you ever noticed that “nice” people never own a gun an most shows?

  3. I can overlook the errors. Walt is just a great character. Yes, Katie is the bomb, She was so hot in Riddick. If that wasn’t boob I got to see in Riddick, I don’t want to know. Don’t ruin it for me.

  4. Typical Hollywood. Good guns are registered. Bad guns are not. Same for the owners. Ever notice how quickly they do a gun trace on TV/movies. They are trying to ‘normalize’ the “idea” of gun registration.

  5. The registration BS made me yell at my TV too. They do it numerous times.

    My DVR upchucked and I lost the last four episodes of this season. What method are you using to watch it?

  6. Not quite as bad as on the ludicrous, irredeemable CSI: Miami where Florida has a massive gun registry where as soon as an investigator feeds a gun’s serial number into the computer it immediately barfs out detailed history in less than a second.

    1. As I said. Lefty Hollywood is always pushing gun control. Registration good. Unregistered bad. Nice people never own guns. Have you ever noticed how often full auto weapons are used by bad guys. All part of the push. Make people think all those ‘black guns’ are machine guns.

  7. It bothers me on tv shows when striker fired guns go “click, click, click” when they are run dry and are never at slide lock. Sure it’s more for the viewer to understand the gun is empty… Just bothers me

    1. Know what you mean. I think it’s the same as throwing away your gun in silent pictures. Just making sure you know the gun is empty. Revolver cylinder flicking bothers me more because it’s just done to look cool.

  8. Good show, the uncocked 1911 bothered me also but as Caleb pointed out it definitely fit his character. There was some other Hollywood BS in a few of the episodes…guns never running dry of ammo and making the wrong noise.
    Filmed in New Mexico.

  9. Part of the problem with a lot of police procedurals is that they will often hire a retired NY or CA cop as their technical adviser. Like most cops, they are woefully ignorant of gun laws and gun safety beyond what they remember from the academy decades ago.
    I’ve watched a few episodes of Longmire and it makes me sad that they seem to have taken what could have been a truly original and interesting show that focused on themes of the Sheriff’s widowhood, the new deputy’s adjustment to her new job and the quirks of rural crimefighting, and turned it into a common-as-dirt police procedural. If anyone has got past the fifth or sixth episode, please tell me that it gets better.

  10. There aren’t to many shows where the bad guy doesn’t die immediately from a single gun shot. Shot in the chest and they drop like a rock. Or the hero takes one in the leg and then manages to climb a ladder, jumps from one roof to another and then out runs the bad guy.

    1. Too true. But my favorite peeve is the hero who won’t use an “evil” gun, tussels with the gun toting bad guy, knocks said baddie down, stuns him runs off (?) LEAVING THE GUN! Bad guy then recovers, picks up his gun and starts shooting. Not so common these days but it was a staple of the 70’s and 80’s.

  11. I started watching the show after Katee Sackhoff tweeted a pretty levelheaded pro gun-safety message a while back. She also sad in an interview that one reason she took the role on Battlestar Gallactica was because she wanted to shoot a gun (beginning of this clip:

    Don’t know how much influence she has over the writing, but she might make an effort if contacted in a friendly way.

    The Sleepy Hollow show irritated a bunch of people for saying Revelations (with an ‘s’). After a bunch of comments and tweets, they’ve edited the final ‘s’ out of at least one “Previously seen on…” scene. I don’t think any show actively works to alienate their audience. And the readers of this blog are smack-dab in the middle of Longmire’s target demographic.

  12. EthanP is right. These are not simply errors, they are the expression of deeply held prejudices of the writers. You can see it in lots of ways in many shows. I could site a litany of examples but that would be tedious. What it all boils down to is there are relatively small communities of writers who are mostly cloistered in New York and Los Angeles and who work on many shows. they are mostly liberal or left leaning and they hew to the liberal orthodoxy.

    In fairness some writers probably have no clue they are doing this but if it was all ignorance instead of malice you’d at least occasionally have errors in the other direction.

  13. At least half, probably a lot more people think that filling out a 4473 is “registering” a gun in their name.

    My TV gun gripe is no matter what kind of holster or how awkward it looks it’s always worn at the appendix position. It would take a contortionist to draw from the angle the butt ends up. Of course the director always wants the gun to be seen on camera if there is one in the scene which is why actors run around with their pistols beside their ears another gripe that drives me crazy.

  14. I’ve read several of the books; I don’t know if the author doesn’t know any better or has an agenda, but makes the same mistake about ‘registered to’ in them.

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