New York Gun Law: Would Make Sure Hollywood Couldn't Use Guns in TV, Movie Production

What would shows like CSI:NY, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, or Blue Bloods be without guns? Well, you may be forced to find out thanks to the gun control measures signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Widely considered to be the toughest gun laws in the country, the measures may have some unintended consequences.

Many of the shows and movies that film in the state use life-like assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Though the guns used are obviously modified, many still use the same magazines as the actual guns themselves. As these magazines are now banned, their use is also prohibited, even by TV and film. That's because the recently passed gun control bill failed to carve out an exemption for them. The film industry is a part of the economic vitality and life force of New York. That’s why the state gave $420 millionin tax credits to TV and movie studios this year. Cuomo says these credits translate into $5.5 billion in direct spending.  

There is an easy solution. Modify the law to make the exception for the film and production industry. There are many Republicans, however, who are none to eager to revisit the gun law. Republican Dean Skelos of Long Island said that the industry shouldn’t be treated any differently. It's kind of the Republicans way of sending Cuomo a, “We told you so message.”

The gun control bill was quickly passed following the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. The speed of which it was approved worried politicians, who said they tried to warn against hasty gun control measures. It also worried members of the film industry, who repeatedly informed Cuomo’s office of the unintended consequences this would have upon their industry. 

“There was no chance for anybody to weigh in — like, ‘Hey, you forgot to take this into account,’ ” said Tom J. O’Donnell, the president of the Theatrical Teamsters Local 817. If it sounds like this isn’t a big deal. It is. The industry has grown weary of jumping through the hoops of New York, as noted by a special effects coordinator based out of Brooklyn. 

“If a producer has to jump through more flaming hoops than they already do to shoot in this crazy city of ours, they’re going to go: ‘When is too many hoops? Is this the last one? Am I done now?’” 

Bushnell highlights the real concern here. After the licenses, the fees, and taking into account the higher cost of New York production, will it be worth putting up with another inconvenience to film in New York? Ryder Washburn of the leading supplier of firearms for production said, “Our generators are on wheels, our carts are on wheels, our trucks are on wheels. Everything is on wheels, and it goes where it’s wanted.”

And right now, New York is making it harder for production companies to feel wanted.


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Andrea Ayres-Deets

PM Politics Intern- M.A. in Writing from the University of Warwick. Lover of sci-fi, awkward situations, and coffee.

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