With the Trump administration and Congress still debating gun control legislation, the question of how best to regulate movies has been the focus of debate for years.
In recent months, however, the industry has been grappling with how to better regulate and sell its products, with movie studios and distributors increasingly worried that an end to federal restrictions could leave the industry vulnerable to litigation and shut it down.
While the entertainment industry has long resisted efforts to ban movies outright, the push for legislation is starting to gain momentum.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that the Trump Justice Department last month issued guidance to federal regulators on how to address the “no fly” policy.
The guidance is intended to make it easier for movie theaters to comply with federal rules that prohibit movie theaters from selling “restricted” firearms, or firearms that require a license.
The guidance requires that movie theaters also disclose the name of the exhibitor and the type of firearms the theater sells, and how many firearms are sold per day.
The rule also says the federal government must provide a written statement to the theater that shows how many guns are sold and how they are purchased.
The Entertainment Software Association, a trade group for movie and television producers, has said the movie industry is “deeply concerned” by the Justice Department guidance.
“The entertainment industry strongly supports the new guidance and looks forward to seeing the guidance fully implemented in a timely manner,” the group said in a statement to The Hill.
“The industry believes that any change to the entertainment rating system must comply with the law and ensure that our members can safely sell and display firearms in the safest way possible.”
The entertainment trade group has also pushed back against the new regulations, with the National Shooting Sports Foundation saying that the industry should continue to fight against any effort to repeal them.
“While we support the government’s guidance, the movie theater industry remains deeply concerned that the Justice Dept. is moving to take steps to ban movie theaters that are already complying with the existing law, and that could put millions of Americans at risk,” the NRA said in an emailed statement.
“A recent report by the National Association of Theater Owners and the Entertainment Software Alliance showed that a whopping 80 percent of movie theater owners would prefer to sell firearms as they are in the open, rather than being forced to sell them under the threat of lawsuits.
We will continue to support our industry in our fight against this policy.”
In addition to the Entertainment and Media Manufacturers Association, several major movie theaters have signed on to the industry’s letter to the administration, including AMC Theatres, AMC Theaters, Cinemark, AMC Sports & Entertainment, AMC Music &” and Regal Cinemas.