Spare us the gun lecture, Harvey

Updated 4:08 PM EST, Fri January 17, 2014

Story highlights

SE Cupp: "Bowling for Columbine" was successful film but didn't slow guns' spread

Harvey Weinstein is planning anti-NRA film, but she says mogul needs reality check

She says his films show plenty of gun violence and law-abiding NRA members wrongly target

Cupp: Films lecturing on guns don't work and gun ownership has surged since Moore film

Editor’s Note: S.E. Cupp is co-host of the new “Crossfire,” which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET weekdays on CNN. She is also the author of “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity,” co-author of “Why You’re Wrong About the Right,” a columnist at the New York Daily News and a political commentator for Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze.

CNN —  

Remember “Bowling for Columbine”?

The anti-gun documentary that attempted to politicize the tragic school shooting at Columbine, Colorado, was wildly successful, both critically and commercially, and even won its writer/director, Michael Moore, an Oscar.

But while the film was certainly entertaining, and may have even got some folks thinking about gun violence, it did little to move the needle on its presumptive goal: curbing gun ownership and weakening the National Rifle Association.

S.E. Cupp
S.E. Cupp

That’s because gun owners and the powerful lobby that represents them don’t care what Hollywood thinks of them, a lesson producer Harvey Weinstein will learn soon.

Weinstein “reluctantly” told Howard Stern that he’s planning a movie that will make the NRA “wish they weren’t alive.” On Friday night, in an exclusive interview pre-taped with Piers Morgan, he says that none other than Meryl Streep will star as an anti-gun senator.

For so many reasons, Weinstein deserves a good, hard reality check.

For one, there’s the obvious and almost comical hypocrisy. Weinstein’s profited immensely from portraying graphic gun violence in films such as “Kill Bill” and “Pulp Fiction.”

His sudden attack of social conscience is astounding and curiously timed. In the same Morgan interview, he says he’ll stop making movies that glamorize guns. But according to Internet Movie Database, “Kill Bill Vol. 3” and “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” are in the works. Maybe he means starting … now.

For another thing, overtly ideological films – think “Rendition” and “Lions for Lambs” – bomb at the box office. Theatergoers don’t want to be lectured by Hollywood for two hours on what they think is wrong with the country.

Opinion: When will America wake up to gun violence?

If we’re to assume Weinstein is motivated by a deep concern about gun violence (and not sheer arrogance), then it’s also worth pointing out that he’s got the wrong target. The NRA represents law-abiding gun owners, not criminals. A gangbanger in Chicago doesn’t care about the NRA, isn’t motivated or supported by the NRA, and may not even know what the NRA is. In vowing to take down this powerful organization supported by millions of law-abiding citizens, Weinstein will simply end up empowering and emboldening it.

And lastly, the effort most certainly won’t rid the country of guns (a goal he’s admitted to having, unless there’s another Holocaust in which case he very much wants a gun, or something.)

Back to Michael Moore. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the U.S. firearms industry, calculates that from 2002, the year “Bowling for Columbine” came out, to 2011, there’s been a 54.1% rise in the number of federal background checks, one way of measuring an increase in gun sales. And remember, that movie was actually successful.

Proving the nation’s gun owners not only don’t care about Hollywood’s dictates but Washington’s either, in the year since the tragic Newtown, Connecticut, shooting – and despite significant efforts from the Obama administration and other Democrats to push increased gun control, gun sales are up 8%.

Weinstein may find this lamentable and even reprehensible. He’s entitled to his opinion. And he’s also entitled to spend Hollywood money on a movie in which Meryl Streep is paid to rail against a constitutionally protected right and a robust and defensive American community. But I promise, every penny he makes will be multiplied manyfold in NRA contributions. Good luck, Harvey.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of SE Cupp.