Are Hollywood Action Stars More Likely to Support or Oppose Gun Control?

It seemed curious to me when Hollywood actor Bruce Willis came out this week against gun control, saying

I think that you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that its all going to become undone. If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?

I wondered if this is simply a “boys with toys” mentality at play; that because Willis has played with assault weapons in his movies (albeit, with blank cartridges) he now enjoys firing these types of weapons in real life and doesn’t want to give them up. And is that the case for the rest of Hollywood’s top action stars? Do they all oppose gun control?

Willis’ fellow action star Steven Seagal also made news this week when Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced Seagal will help train volunteer armed posses in hand-to-hand combat to guard Phoenix-area schools. Seagal spoke at a New Jersey gun club back in 1994 where he stated

It scares me very much to think of people changing the Constitution as they have done. . . . Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Chuck Norris, pal to right-wing preacher and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, stated in an op-ed to Politico in 2011

It’s been said that guns have two enemies — rust and politicians.

Clint Eastwood, the actor made famous for that empty chair skit at the RNC, once (reportedly) supported the Brady bill. However, he’s also made statements like

Gun control is hitting what you shoot at.

and

I have a very strict gun control policy: if there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it.

But just when it begins to appear that simply firing assault weapons (even mock weapons) in shoot-em’ up action movie roles naturally leads one to support the ownership of these weapons, there are action stars who have handled the same weapons but take a more reasoned stance on gun control.

Arnold Schwartzenegger cites mental health, parenting, security and gun laws as factors contributing to gun violence, adding

We as a society have the responsibility to look at this and leave no stone unturned.

Sylvester Stallone clearly supports an assault weapons ban.

I know people get (upset) and go, ‘They’re going to take away the assault weapon.’ Who … needs an assault weapon? Like really, unless you’re carrying out an assault. … You can’t hunt with it. … Who’s going to attack your house, a (expletive) army?

And Harrison Ford, listed as #3 of the Top 30 Action Heroes by IMDB, said back in 2003

I’m very troubled by the proliferation of arms; at the fact so many people in the United States carry guns. It obviously contributes greatly to the crime problems we have. I’m sure gun laws should be strengthened in the United States. I just don’t know the correct mechanism.

So while the radical right points to Willis’ statement as an example of Hollywood “speaking out against attacks on the Second Amendment”,  the truth is that Hollywood’s top action stars are as divided as the rest of the country on gun control.

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