Gun violence in movies targeted to teens has more than tripled since 1985, bypassing R-rated movies.
A study published in the medical journal Pediatrics tracked trends of gun violence in the movies and shows teens can watch. It showed teens see far more firearms in the media than they used to, which the study authors say is cause for concern.
"Previous research has shown that when exposed to movie characters who smoke, many youth are more likely to start smoking themselves," the study noted. "The same effect is true for characters who drink."
The authors predict that "youth will be more interested in acquiring and using guns after exposure to gun violence in films."
The study cites concern that violent movies provide "scripts on how to use guns," and specifically mentions that the gunman from the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, identified himself to police as "The Joker" after firing into an audience watching the new Batman movie.
The NRA also blames violent media, like action movies and video games, for upticks in gun violence. "There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people -- through vicious, violent video games," NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said in a statement following the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Independent reports.
Gun manufacturers have benefited from the branding that action-movie firearms provide. According to the Economist, Smith & Wesson's .44 Magnum sales got a bump after Clint Eastwood's character Dirty Harry gave a nod to the gun-maker. "Die Hard 2," released in 1990, boosted Glock sales.
According to Mother Jones, Glock started to give free or steeply discounted guns to Hollywood prop houses, in search of "its Dirty Harry moment," in the words of reporter Paul Barrett, whose book, "Glock: The Rise of America's Gun" documents the growth of the firearm manufacturer.
Glock won a lifetime achievement award in 2010 from Brandchannel, a group that documents product placement in movies. That year, more than 15 percent of that year's top movies featured Glocks.
A former technical adviser and gun fight choreographer told the Economist that Baretta gave 2013 movie "Lone Survivor" $250,000 for product placement. This form of direct sponsorship is rare, as gun manufacturers know their products will find their way to the big screen whether they pay for it or not.