USC’s Norman Lear Center Releases Media Guidelines for Depictions of Safe Gun Use in Entertainment

USC Annenberg’s Norman Lear Center has released the “Trigger Warning: Gun Guidelines for the Media,” a resource guide created to better understand the presence of gun use in the entertainment industry. “Trigger Warning” is homed on the Hollywood, Health & Society main page and social platforms. 

The information provided in the guide highlights facts and figures on gun prevalence in the media found over the past 20 years.

“Trigger Warning” shines a light on the modernization of guns in modern culture with a warning of where trends may lead in the future. “America has more guns than people; more homicides, suicides, and unintentional deaths by firearm than any of its high-income peer countries by orders of magnitude. So it makes sense that guns seem to be everywhere in our media, too. From late-night news to Saturday morning cartoons, cop shows to comedies — guns are ubiquitous on our screens.”

“I couldn’t be prouder that the Center which bears my name is releasing this report about gun safety and the entertainment industry,” said Lear. “How guns are portrayed on screen should reflect the public health crisis we are in, and help portray responsible gun ownership.”

Some of the findings reveal that in the U.S., by the time a child turns 18, they will have been exposed to 40,000 simulated murders with research proving that youth who are exposed to programming with guns has been proven to make children more probably to want to play with guns. 

“From ‘designated driver’ to ‘buckle up,’ we all know how Hollywood helped make our roads safer by depicting responsible driving. Could there be a better moment than this one for the entertainment industry to get behind a similar effort for gun safety, and depict responsible gun ownership?” said Kate Folb, director of Hollywood, Health & Society. “TV shows are in a unique position to change the narrative, reset the bar, and provide representation of safe, responsible behavior when it comes to firearms.”

Read the full report here.

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