The Expendables do not see eye-to-eye on gun control.
Two of Hollywood’s most famous on-screen gun toters — Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone — are on very different sides of the debate over gun violence following the Newtown, Conn. school massacre. Stallone, who blasted everything that moved in the Rambo movies, favors new gun control laws including a ban on so-called assault weapons. Willis, who sees to it that many die extremely hard in the Die Hard flicks, says that any new legislation on guns is a slippery slope leading to an eventual hard death for the Bill of Rights.
Fictional violence in movies, TV shows and video games remains a focus for some after the school shooting, with some in both parties calling on the entertainment industry to take a portion of the blame for the large-scale shootings that have seem to come regularly in recent years. Hollywood for the most part rejects the idea.
Willis and Stallone, both pitching violent films on the junket circuit, have been asked to give their take on what should be done about gun violence. Set in the rhetoric of the current debate over guns, Stallone is more in line with President Obama while Willis is standing with the leadership of the National Rifle Association.
“I think that you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it’s all going to become undone,” Willis told the AP recently. ”If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?”
Willis blamed mass shootings on mental health problems and said he couldn’t see a way to prevent them with new laws. “I don’t know how you legislate insanity. I don’t know what you do about it,” he said. “I don’t even know how you begin to stop that.”
Willis’ line is similar to that coming from NRA leaders like Wayne LaPierre who have warned that new proposals to expand the background check system and limit the capacity of magazines are the first step toward a plan to roll back Second Amendment rights.
Stallone on the other hand, was a supporter of the 1994 effort to ban assault weapons and he supports similar proposals now.
“I know people get (upset) and go, ‘They’re going to take away the assault weapon.’ Who … needs an assault weapon? Like really, unless you’re carrying out an assault. … You can’t hunt with it. … Who’s going to attack your house, a (expletive) army?” Stallone said recently.
He also says it’s time for a new focus on mental health.
“I think the biggest problem, seriously, is not so much guns as it is that every single one of these people that have done these things in the past 30 years are crazy, really crazy,” Stallone told the BBC. “And that’s where we’ve dropped the ball. Mental health.”
This is a bit more in keeping with Obama’s take on gun violence. The president has continued to push an assault weapons ban despite the political realities on Capitol Hill. His gun violence prevention package also features money for schools to bolster mental health services or add armed police officers to their halls.