ALBANY – The State Legislature’s top Republican says he is opposed to giving the movie industry a special “carve-out” from the gun-control law so that action scenes staged in New York could include actors armed with assault weapons.
And a senior Cuomo administration official involved in the talks said he believes that a special Hollywood carve-out is unlikely to be included in any changes in the gun-control law that might be resolved in the concluding days of budget negotiations.
Senate co-leader Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, told The Buffalo News on Thursday that he is concerned about the mixed message that such a special provision for Hollywood would send.
Critics have said the idea of letting film companies use now-banned assault weapons – even though they use only blanks – in movies filmed in New York sends a confusing signal, especially to children, at a time when new gun restrictions are being put into law.
“I indicated my opposition” to the provision, Skelos said of talks he is having with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other legislative leaders on possible changes to the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.
“My concern is, why are you doing for Hollywood, and others cannot do the same thing?” Skelos said in the interview. “I don’t believe they should be treated any differently.”
Skelos noted the interest the state has in the movie industry – it spends hundreds of millions of dollars on tax breaks to lure filmmakers here.
“We have a tremendous amount of film tax credits, which are going to be helpful to that industry,” he said.
Asked the status of the talks over the Hollywood exemption to the SAFE Act, Skelos said, “As we speak right now, that’s one of the issues that’s outstanding.”