Arnold Schwarzenegger has become the latest Hollywood star to dismiss suggestions that violent movies are to blame for gun massacres such as the recent killing of 20 children in Connecticut.
The iconic action star, who is currently promoting his new film The Last Stand, told reporters it was important to “keep [the two] separate”. He said: “[This is] entertainment and the other thing is a tragedy beyond belief. It’s really serious and it’s the real deal.” He added: “We have to analyse how we deal with mental illness, how we deal with gun laws, how we deal with parenting.”
The 65-year-old actor, for whom The Last Stand is his first lead role since the end of a seven-year stint as governor of California, said the entire situation surrounding the deaths of 20 children and six staff at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last month should be carefully looked at. “Everything has to be analysed; no stone [left] unturned,” he said. “How can we do better with gun laws? If there are any loopholes, if there’s a problem, let’s analyse it … Are we really dealing with the mental problems the right way as a society?”
Schwarzenegger also hinted that the culture surrounding gun enthusiasts might need to change in a reference to Connecticut killer Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy, who was murdered with her own assault weapons. “Does a mother need to collect guns and take her little kids shooting?” the actor asked.
The Newtown massacre on 14 December has reignited the US debate over gun control, but opponents of new legislation have refused to accept that easy access to firearms led to the deaths. In a speech last month, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre specifically blamed Hollywood films and video games for the heightened culture of gun violence in the US.
Since then, film-makers and actors have found themselves at the centre of an uncomfortable media storm. Director Quentin Tarantino, who is currently promoting his blood-spattered new spaghetti western homage Django Unchained, last week angrily denied any link between screen violence and real-life killings during a US radio interview. “Would I watch a kung fu movie three days after the Sandy Hook massacre? Would I watch a kung fu movie? Maybe, ’cause they have nothing to do with each other,” he said.
The Last Stand, the tale of a small-town sheriff (Schwarzenegger) tasked with stopping a notorious escaped cartel leader from crossing the border into Mexico, opens on 18 January in the US and a week later in the UK.
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