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Gun violence has tripled in teenage films since 1985

Taken 2

Story by Jack Foley

GUN violence deemed suitable for teenage viewers has tripled since 1985, according to a new US study.

In fact, gun violence in films rated PG-13 (the certificate that covers 12A and 15 films in the UK) actually exceeded that in films rated R (for viewers aged 17 and older, or the UK 18 equivalent).

Since 1950, that figure has doubled.

Dr Daniel Romer, co-author of Gun Violence Trends in Movies, examined the top 30 grossing movies of each year from 2012 to 1950 with several colleagues in order to form his conclusions and, in a total of 945 films from the last six decades, there were 17,695 violent scenes.

Some of the recent PG-13 movies that “had a lot of gun violence”, according to the study, included The Dark Knight (2008), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012) and Taken 2 (2012) – the latter of which surprised many when it was awarded a 12A certificate in the UK despite the fact the original movie had been a 15.

The study, conducted jointly by Ohio State University and the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, suggested that sexual content was more likely to incur higher ratings and stricter censure.

And it prompted Dr Romer to call upon the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to re-evaluate its rating system in order to better protect young viewers in the future.

“We’d like to see those films [containing gun violence] put into the R category‚Ķ or [have them] rethink how much gun violence they will show,” he said.

As yet, the MPAA has yet to make a comment.

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