Film, TV groups 'look forward' to seeking gun-violence solutions

Entertainment industry groups said late Thursday they "look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions" to curbing gun violence in the United States. 

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“The entertainment community appreciates being included in the dialogue around the administration’s efforts to confront the complex challenge of gun violence in America," the entertainment trade groups said in a joint statement issued late Thursday, following a meeting with Vice President Biden. "This industry has a longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families."

Top representatives from the cable, broadcasting and motion-picture industry met with Biden for just over two hours on Thursday. It was one of a series of meetings the vice president has held with industry groups and stakeholders — including the National Rifle Association — this week to discuss clamping down on gun violence in the U.S. and possible changes to existing gun laws.

"We welcome the opportunity to share that history and look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions,” the entertainment industry groups' statement continued.   

Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), now the chief of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen participated in the meeting. 

Other attendees included former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters; Michael Powell, CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association; Jean Prewitt, CEO of the Independent Film and Television Alliance; Jay Roth, the national executive director of the Directors Guild of America; and National Association of Theatre Owners CEO John Fithian.

Since last month's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the movie and TV industry has come under scrutiny for producing violent content and "shoot-'em-up" thrillers. The head of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, pointed fingers at the entertainment industry for encouraging violent behavior in the U.S. by making "blood-soaked slasher films" such as "Natural Born Killers" and "American Psycho."

Obama formed the task force in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, which claimed the lives of 26 people, including 20 young children. 

Under Biden's lead, the task force is charged with compiling a list of policy recommendations on curbing gun violence, which is expected to create a framework for new gun laws. Biden plans to send the recommendations to President Obama by Tuesday. 

So far, Biden has not indicated that those recommendations would touch on violence in movies, TV shows and other entertainment content. Biden said Thursday that the recommendations would "relate primarily to gun ownership, and the type of weapons we own."

It would be difficult for the administration or Congress to regulate violent content in films and TV shows because of concerns over protecting First Amendment rights. Defenders of the entertainment industry have noted that it has taken steps to address concerns about children viewing violent media content.

The MPAA, for example, oversees the ratings system used to inform parents about the content featured in films played in the U.S.

Dodd told The Hollywood Reporter this week that the MPAA would "vehemently" oppose content regulation. However, he noted that the film lobby would be open to exploring voluntary steps to provide parents with more information on content in films so they can make more informed decisions about what movies their kids see.

This story was updated at 12:40 a.m.

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