A feature story published Friday in the The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the manufacturers of many popular guns do not worry about advertising their products because they know Hollywood will advertise for them, often for free.
This may come as a shock to many who accustomed to associated Hollywood with gun control, especially considering the anti-gun tweets of Julianne Moore, Cher, Chris Rock, John Legend and Adam Lambert. Not to mention the anti-gun PSAs of Alec Baldwin and Michael Douglas, the gun control rants of Liam Neeson and Matt Damon, and the praise Bradley Cooper, Will Ferrell, and 98 other celebrities heaped on President Obama for his January 5, 2016, executive gun controls. And we cannot forget director Harvey Weinstein’s pledge to make an anti-gun movie that he said will make the NRA “wish they weren’t alive.”
Did I mention Kim Kardashian? She is all-in for gun control too.
Yet gun use in Hollywood productions is actually on the rise. According to THR, “the average number of [gun] models used between 2010 and 2015 was 51 percent higher than a decade earlier.” Moreover, the appearance of guns in Hollywood productions is so ubiquitous that some manufacturers–like Kahr Arms–trust their advertisement to Hollywood appearances.
Frank Harris, vp sales and marketing at Kahr Firearms Group, makers of the Thompson submachine gun (aka the Tommy gun, a staple from “Scarface” to “Inglourious Basterds”) and the Desert Eagle pistol (gold-plated in Austin Powers in “Goldmember”), notes, “We don’t need to promote them. They are promoted all the time.” The firm doesn’t charge producers to use its IP (as it would for a Desert Eagle T-shirt or Tommy-shaped gin bottle). “We feel like we’re getting a good trade-off,” he says.
Gordon Bond–owner of Bond Arms–took a similar view: “We’ve been in probably 20 different TV shows, and 80 percent of those we didn’t know happened [until after the fact].” Bond described the arrangement as essentially “free advertising.”
On the other hand, there is big money to made if exclusive terms can be reached. In fact, the ties between Hollywood and the firearm industry run so deep and can be so lucrative that there are people whose job it is simply to negotiate deals between manufacturers and filmmakers. Rolfe Auerbach is one such person. He is a licensing consultant who places guns in the correct movies and negotiates the terms for using said guns.
Auerbach secured the “$250,000 deal with Beretta to have the firm’s 92FS pistol featured in Peter Berg’s Afghanistan war drama ‘Lone Survivor,’ starring [Mark] Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch.” Former Beretta executive Gary Ramey said, “The movies provide a great opportunity to feature or highlight firearms with different groups of influencers like the military and law enforcement. That’s where we focus our efforts.”
The bottom line–Matt Damon may say he wishes the U.S. had an “Australian-Style gun ban,” but he is making lots of money using handguns and “assault weapons” in the Bourne films. And the companies that make those guns may be making big money as well.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.