Hollywood stars including Amy Schumer, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo signed a letter published on Monday calling for movies and television shows to depict responsible gun ownership and to limit scenes involving children with firearms.
The open letter, penned in response to recent US mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, was also signed by top producers J.J. Abrams ("Lost"), Shonda Rhimes ("Bridgerton") and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy.
"Cultural attitudes toward smoking, drunk driving, seatbelts and marriage equality have all evolved due in large part to movies' and TV's influence. It's time to take on gun safety," says the letter shared by the Brady Campaign, a gun control nonprofit.
"We are not asking anyone to stop showing guns on screen. We are asking writers, directors and producers to be mindful of on-screen gun violence and model gun safety best practices."
Suggested measures include showing characters locking their guns up safely, and holding discussions before production begins about whether alternatives to guns could be used without "sacrificing narrative integrity."
Noting that firearms recently surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among American minors, the letter asks "colleagues in the creative community" to "limit scenes including children and guns."
Last month, 10 people were shot and killed in a racist attack on a grocery store in New York state. Ten days later, 19 children and two teachers were murdered during a school rampage in Uvalde, Texas, AFP said.
Overall, 4,368 US children and adolescents up to the age of 19 died from firearms in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The open letter was signed by more than 200 Hollywood figures, also including Jimmy Kimmel, Judd Apatow, Bill Lawrence, Damon Lindelof and Adam McKay.
It noted that guns "are prominently featured in TV and movies in every corner of the globe, but only America has a gun violence epidemic."
"The responsibility lies with lax gun laws supported by those politicians more afraid of losing power than saving lives.
"We didn't cause the problem, but we want to help fix it."