America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 40

Hollywood
Gun Machine
An inside peek
into how the
film industry
is affected
by American
gun culture
By Susanne Edward
I
n their pet causes, politics
and social media,
Hollywood directors
and actors
often aggressively proclaim
that individual Americans
can't be trusted with their Second
Amendment freedom. Meanwhile,
in their productions, the studios rely
on shootouts-what many on the
Left like to call " gun violence " -to
interest audiences.
Th is contradiction isn't something
they are even willing to explore. Th is
is a shame, as they could be so much
more interesting, even powerful, if
they took off the political restraints
and let writers, producers and so
on explore real stories. Just imagine
the heroes they could give us if they
really dug into the individual empowerment
of this right. Th ey could even
give us honest juxtapositions of criminals
(the bad guys) with guns confronted
by good citizens who know
how to wield this right.
Instead, Hollywood is clinging
to a weak contradiction by banally
opposing something they barely
understand but that they rely on for
money. Th is weakens their characters,
makes honest analysis of this
issue too politically incorrect for
them to touch and dumbs down
everyone involved.
Still, as they know they must use
guns to tell many of their stories,
40 SEPTEMBER 2021 I AMERICA'S 1ST
an interesting professional class of
prop companies and advisors has
been created out of necessity. So how
exactly how does Tinseltown execute
the bang-bang for big and small
screens despite their politics?
" Th ere are still occasions where
legitimate fi rearms are used, fi rearms
that have not been modifi ed in any
way, " said Tim Clemente, a retired FBI
agent and founder of the specialized
production company X-G Productions
Inc., whose credits include Criminal
Minds (CBS) and NCIS Los Angeles
(CBS). " But that is very rare. "
Th e standard Hollywood go-to is
blanks. Th ese have enough gunpowder
to constitute a vivid fl ash at the
barrel's end, giving them Hollywood
pizazz. Blanks, however, are still
deemed hazardous, given the debris,
hot gases and fl ames they throw off.
" If the guns fi re, they are almost
always real guns with blanks, "
explained Frank DeMartini, producer
of " Mad Money " and " Mechanic Resurrection. "
" But if they are just seen,
they are plastic or rubber. "
Some productions choose to make
or hire " prop " guns that are rubber
replicas. Th e production term " suicide
guns " is also tossed around sets.
Th ese guns function like blank guns
with a sealed barrel and are used for
sound eff ects only.
FREEDOM
Cutting corners is not a viable
option for even low-budget productions.
According to DeMartini, an
armorer is almost always hired for
larger-scale fi lms, while the prop
department is in charge of safety on
lower-budget productions.
Th e armorer serves as the ultimate
point person responsible for everyone's
safety. Th ey work with all players,
from the fi re marshal and studio
executives, to the stunt coordinator
and assistant director-the latter of
which is a kind of spokesperson to
the producers-to guarantee nobody
gets hurt, and to assure that all federal,
state and local laws are followed.
" Th e armorer is responsible for
knowing where all the weapons
are on set, who has them and that
they get them back right away, " said
Bobby Chacon, a retired FBI agent
and writer/technical advisor for CBS'
" Criminal Minds. " " So when they cut
the scene, the armorer is right there
to take the weapon and take control. "
Th is behind-the-scenes role also
functions to keep the actors discharging
a gun safe.
" Whenever guns come on set, it
is announced, and everyone knows
it. Th e armorer or props person will
verify that there is no live ammo and
will show everyone whether the gun
is operable or not operable, " Clemente
said. " And if it is going to be fi ring
blanks, they will show the actual
loads to ensure there is no projectile. "
Th e tragedy that changed it all for
Hollywood-and induced stringent
rules and regulations-occurred
during the 1993 fi lming of " Th e
Crow. " Actor Brandon Lee, son of
martial arts legend Bruce Lee, was
killed after a crew member fi red
a blank gun during a break, and a
shell, which had been emptied of
gun powder, made its way into the
barrel. Th en, with no one person
overseeing the guns, the gun was
fi red during a subsequent take, and
the rogue shell went into Lee's spine.
Necessary gun-safety protocols
should teach producers, actors and
more about real American gun culture,
which is also predicated upon
Continued on p. 63
Photo: Alamy

America's First Freedom - September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - September 2021

Contents
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - Cover1
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - Cover2
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 1
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - Contents
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