Hollywood Felons and Guns

For years I’ve wondered how felons like Marky Mark get away with handling and shooting guns in movies when they’re prohibited persons. I never bothered to do any research on the topic, but today (via Drudge) this awful Hollywood Reporter article about guns fell into my lap.

To serve Hollywood’s marquee felons like Mark Wahlberg (currently brandishing a Glock 17 as a cop in Patriots Day) and Danny Trejo (most recently armed with an M1911A1 pistol in 2013’s Machete Kills) — who aren’t allowed by law to bear arms — ISS has a roster of realistic electronic guns (also known as e-guns or non-guns) that can stand in for everything from Smith & Wessons to Uzis. “They get a lot of use on hip-hop music video shoots,” says one weapons specialist. Producers working with ex-cons or shooting outside in neighborhoods with noise restrictions rely on them since they discharge at a much quieter level. They also are used in close-fire situations like a point-blank execution scene, where real weapons firing blanks are deemed unsafe (e-guns don’t eject shell casings).

That’s about the best thing I got from the article. That and California “conservatives” will always be liberals. For example there’s this:

Elsewhere at ISS, in a large office, owner Bilson — a self-described moderate “weapons enthusiast, not a weapons nut” who believes “there needs to be additional commonsense legislation” such as a national database “and a lot of other things that the NRA is against” — remains in the political cross fire. When he’s not ducking the NRA’s LaPierre’s verbal salvos about Hollywood violence (“We felt like we were thrown under the bus”), he’s navigating byzantine local, state, national and international gun laws (California legislation is the country’s strictest). ISS regularly is audited by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the state Department of Justice and the Los Angeles Police Department.

Yes, audits for everyone!

As president of the American Entertainment Armories Association, Bilson is in close contact with the MPAA to carve out exemptions, such as a far shortened waiting period to get ahold of a handgun. “[Armorers] can’t wait 10 days — they need it that day or the very next day on set due to the speed of production,” he says, noting more generally, “There aren’t really rules governing what it is we do. So [legislators] have kind of fit a square peg in a round hole, and we have adapted to it as best as we can.”

So you can’t wait 10 days because you’re on a deadline, but a woman whose boyfriend is stalking her and threatening her life should be made to?

And I don’t believe this dubious claim for a second. They claim to have invented gang bangers acting like idiots by holding their gun sideways:

Sometimes armorers find that their onscreen handiwork worms its way back into real life. John Patteson, a Florida-based armorer (Cape Fear and Bad Boys II), recalls an experience on a 1980s TV show that he will not name in which a director wanted two guys with semiautomatic handguns to fire while standing next to each other. Patteson pointed out that the ejected rounds from one gun would hit the second man, at best creating an annoyance and at worst a potential safety hazard. “The director says, ‘How about we ask the left guy to tilt his gun sideways, so brass goes up and arcs away?’ ” Patteson adjusted the scene accordingly, but “next thing you know, I’m seeing guys in 7-Eleven videos holding the guns sideways.”

I’m a natural skeptic, but that smells like bullshit to me.

Posted in You might be a gun nut | Comments RSS | Comments and Trackbacks are closed.


  1. Will
    Posted 12/30/16 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    If you read the credits on movies and tv shows, you find the action shows with significant gun use are filmed in Canada.

    That happened back when the LA City council started assessing huge fees for the movie weapon suppliers to stock magazines in the 90’s. The movies left town due to increasing production costs (not just gun stuff, but that was the icing on the cake), and at least one gun rental company sold off all their good stuff as a result (Stembridge in ’99). I think the other players moved out of LA County, but I’m not sure.

    Their may be less legal restrictions on felon actors to work in Canada, but that is a guess. Canada likes the income from Hollywood.

  2. MMurcek
    Posted 01/02/17 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    The way I have hear it is the Israeli military came up with flipping the gun on its side so a weaker person could rack the slide. Then the gun is brought back upright for firing. I imagine most gangbangers would too dumb or stuck in their image of what looks “bad” to realize they are basically imitating an Israeli housewife or teenage girl.

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    Posted 02/11/17 at 2:44 am | Permalink

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  1. By SayUncle » So, that’s how they do it on 12/30/16 at 1:55 pm

    […] How actors who are convicted felons can handle guns on set. […]

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