Tonight, President Barack Obama will take the stage for a CNN town hall on gun violence, knowing that Hollywood has his back – even from those who usually stand on a different side of the political spectrum. “What Obama is suggesting isn’t outrageous at all,” one conservative-leaning producer told Deadline today of the President’s executive orders of earlier this week for “common sense” gun control measures.
“Whether or not it’ll be effective is another matter, but the NRA and others are alienating people and Second Amendment supporters with their refusal to address the problem of mass shootings,” added the Tinseltown member of the GOP-friendly Friends of Abe in regards to Obama’s latest initiative.
“I commend President Obama for his speech this week and his stance and I applaud him,” says Spike Lee. “Ninety Americans, and not just in the ‘hood but everywhere, 90 Americans die every day in this country due to gun violence,” added the Chi-Raq director, who addressed the issue and consequences of gun violence in the film based in part on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. “This is madness. This is an insanity that has to stop.”
“I admire the President’s common sense approach to gun control,” Homeland EP and Democratic donor Howard Gordon says. “His plan is reasonable and holds gun-sellers appropriately accountable.”
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The NRA has turned down an invite to participate in the 8 PM ET one-hour Guns In America town hall tonight hosted by Anderson Cooper. However, NRA Executive Director Chris Cox is scheduled to appear on Fox News’ The Kelly File at 9 PM to respond to the President’s remarks. It’s a state of affairs that doesn’t go over well with some industry movers and shakers in the President’s camp. “The National Rifle Association folks are living in a dangerous dream world and they will have blood on their hands if they and the Republicans don’t start becoming part of the solution instead of remaining part of the problem,” said a longtime Democrat-supporting senior TV insider. “This town is squarely behind the President and behind Hillary in wanting serious gun reform because something is better than nothing at this point.”
On Tuesday, an emotional Obama announced that he would bypass Congress and take action to expand background checks for gun purchasers. His former Secretary of State and potential successor Hillary Clinton, who is in L.A. for another round of fundraisers today, quickly praised her old boss. Surrounded by victims of gun violence and with Trainwreck actress and gun control advocate Amy Schumer among those in the audience at the White House, the President also said he will increase funding for mental health treatment, gun safety research, and for FBI and ATF agents.
In response, the NRA said that Obama’s executive orders “represents an ongoing attempt to distract attention away from his lack of a coherent strategy to keep the American people safe from terrorist attack.” They added, “we will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be harassed or intimidated for engaging in lawful, constitutionally protected activity – nor will we allow them to become scapegoats for President Obama’s failed policies.” GOP Presidential candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio also blasted Obama’s stance.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll in October, before the San Bernardino shootings of December 2, found Americans split 47%-46% on the question of whether the greater priority should be protecting gun rights or bringing in new gun laws.
“The challenge and the frustration remains how do you actually make a change?” a top-tier studio exec told me of his take on Obama’s executive orders and the lack of gun reform proposals out of the GOP. “This is where being a lame duck is powerful because he doesn’t have to be in service of any extreme stakeholder and he doesn’t to have to pull his punch – that’s the power of the position he is in now.”
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