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Willis vs. Stallone: Action stars talk gun control

Mark Deming
Movie Talk
February 6, 2013

Two of Hollywood’s most iconic actions heroes have been weighing in on the new debate over gun control, and they are not seeing eye to eye.

Bruce Willis is currently making the publicity rounds, talking up the latest film in the “Die Hard” franchise, “A Good Day To Die Hard,” which opens February 14. In an interview with the Associated Press, he spoke out strongly against the call for new laws against firearms in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

“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 said. “If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn't they take all your rights away from you?”

Willis went on to say, “It's a difficult thing and I really feel bad for those families," he said. "I'm a father and it's just a tragedy. But I don't know how you legislate insanity. I don't know what you do about it. I don't even know how you begin to stop that.”

Willis’s comments stand in contrast to what fellow movie tough guy Sylvester Stallone has to say on the subject last week, while doing press for his own new film, “Bullet To The Head.”

Stallone, who was a supporter of the 1994 “Brady Bill” which outlawed certain assault weapons, renewed his support of similar legislation, saying, “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?”

Both Willis and Stallone are known for releasing some massive firepower in their movies – it’s hard to imagine the “Die Hard” or “Rambo” films without thinking of them shooting a high-tech weapon at a band of bad guys – and the trailer for “A Good Day To Die Hard” shows Willis exchanging fire with a number of crooks. The Internet Movie Firearms Database lists over a dozen assorted guns used in latest "Die Hard" movie. “Bullet To the Head,” meanwhile, shows Stallone going after his adversaries with both a rifle and an axe. Still, both seem to be convinced that entertainment (and by extension their own work) is not the problem.

“No one commits a crime because they saw a film,” Willis said. “There's nothing to support that. We're not making movies about people that have gone berserk, or gone nuts. Those kind of movies wouldn't last very long at all.”

Stallone’s statement dealt less explicitly with the role of violent entertainment, but stood firmly on the notion that mental illness is the real culprit. “I think the biggest problem, seriously, is not so much guns,” Stallone said. “It's that every one of these people that have done these things in the past 30 years are friggin' crazy. Really crazy! And that's where we've dropped the ball: mental health. That to me is our biggest problem in the future, is insanity coupled with isolation.”

See the trailer to 'A Good Day to Die Hard':

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