Actor David Arquette: Feds Should Censor Depictions of Guns in Film, TV

Say what you will about David Arquette, best known for his acting in the Scream horror movie franchise, but the man is at least consistent. Unlike many celebrity gun control advocates, he is not hypocritical in thinking the First Amendment to the Constitution is sacrosanct but the Second Amendment’s freedoms should be limited.

As part of that belief, Arquette said he thought if the government could restrict the number of bullets that could be carried in a magazine, it could also restrict the depictions of high-capacity magazines in television and film.

“If you want to restrict the amount of bullets that fit in a magazine and then restrict that from also being able to show that amount of bullets in a clip on a movie screen, I’m totally down with that, go for it,” Arquette said in an interview with the Daily Caller’s Nicholas Ballasy.

Initially, Arquette tried to shift the conversation away from guns, clearly afraid he might say something embarrassing:

“I really try not to talk about things I don’t know too much about because it always comes off as stupid,” he said.

Eventually, however, Arquette warmed to the topic, admitting that while he supported some restrictions on firearm ownership, he also believed that people should have the right to own a gun, and that something more should be done to prevent people with mental illnesses from engaging in violent behavior.

The actor also spoke at length about the pervasive use of violence in movies and television, saying that Hollywood was just giving the people what they wanted to see:

“Hollywood is, it’s a representative of demand. It’s what people want to see. So why do people want to see this? It’s the culture. What are we doing to sort of start harvesting [sic] better thoughts, better responsibilities, better, sort of, needs?

“I mean, people like excitement like in a video game. So how can we provide that without maybe as much violent—there’s, it’s funny, like The Walking Dead is a huge show. One of the reasons they get away with so much violence is because they’re killing zombies which aren’t real. And there’s something about that, we have to understand—I don’t know, I don’t know what it is, it’s a big topic we can go deeper into. But I think it’s really important to have the conversation about it.”

One wonders why Arquette thinks that only the government could help with having less violence in entertainment media. Couldn’t the content companies themselves actually do something about it? That thought seems to have escaped his mind.

A full transcript of the Arquette comments follows:

DAVID ARQUETTE: I believe in gun control. I believe in people’s right to have a gun, of course. But I think, you know, all of that’s very important, obviously. But I really try not to talk about things I don’t know too much about because it always comes off as stupid. And I respect other people’s beliefs and I think there’s a lot that has to do with how we treat people with mental conditions and how we sort of understand that. I think there’s a lot more behind that we should be doing.

But we’re really hear to talk about the arts today and, for me, that’s a really important topic because it’s our second-largest export in America. And it’s something that while we’re doing all these budget cuts it’s really important that we stay focused on what’s making us money in this world. You know, what are doing. One thing we’re winning throughout the world is a cultural war. People love American music, movies, design, and fashion. So we need to cultivate that, we don’t need to crush it, cut all the budget from it.

We need to understand that we’re the innovators of the future and we have a responsibility to start harvesting [sic] that in our children and in our education system.

BALLASY: Do you think Hollywood has a responsibility to perhaps cut back, as some have called for, on violent content because of tragedies like we saw in Newtown. Do you think Hollywood should be part of the conversation?

ARQUETTE: Yes, I definitely think they should be part of the conversation. Hollywood is, it’s a representative of demand. It’s what people want to see. So why do people want to see this? It’s the culture. What are we doing to sort of start harvesting [sic] better thoughts, better responsibilities, better, sort of, needs?

I mean, people like excitement like in a video game. So how can we provide that without maybe as much violent—there’s, it’s funny, like The Walking Dead is a huge show. One of the reasons they get away with so much violence is because they’re killing zombies which aren’t real. And there’s something about that, we have to understand—I don’t know, I don’t know what it is, it’s a big topic we can go deeper into. But I think it’s really important to have the conversation about it.

I think it’s also important to start paying attention to what’s truly important: teachers, you know, arts. If we start harvesting [sic] things and start producing incredible art and incredible music—things that people love—we’ll probably steer clear of some of the negativer [sic], more negative aspects.

BALLASY: And I ask because the president laid out a lot of things that he would like to see Congress do on guns. And Hollywood wasn’t even—there was no mention of video games, movies, music. And some commentators were, like, ‘What about Hollywood?’ So that’s why—

ARQUETTE: Hey listen, if you want to restrict the amount of bullets that fit in a magazine and then restrict that from also being able to show that amount of bullets in a clip on a movie screen, I’m totally down with that, go for it.

I’m an actor, so you know, I’m sort of — I’m a worker for hire. I’ve done things in movies and shot guns and all this. I don’t shoot guns in my real life, but you know, I’m also providing a service. So I wish I was in a position to be able to say, you know what, I don’t want to do that, because there’s a gun involved, and I don’t believe in guns, but I’m an actor, and I need to work.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013