Reevaluate Gun Violence in PG-13 Movies

Target: Christopher J. Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America

Goal: Amend the movie rating system to reflect quantifiable data, so that parents can make more informed decisions.

A study found that depictions of gun violence in PG-13 movies vastly exceeded those in films that were rated R in recent years. Ratings are determined by the Classification and Ratings Administration, a group of parents who are not related to the film industry in any way, and whose identities are kept confidential. Their methods have been questioned by industry professionals as well as cinephiles. It is obvious that this system is imperfect, and that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) needs to introduce a change.

PG-13 movies rule the box office, leading to many concerns about what kind of content is influencing children. Ratings should be based on the content of the film represented in quantifiable data. Rather than just evaluating how much blood is spilled or how much explicit agony a person goes through on screen, MPAA should additionally look at how often and in what context gun violence is depicted. This would help parents make a decision based on their own values rather than those of an independent group of random people. Films with large amounts of gun violence but no accurate depictions of the victims’ final moments desensitize viewers from the acts being committed and may actually be more detrimental to the minds of young viewers. Please sign this petition to ask that the MPAA change its rating standards for gun violence in movies.


Dear Mr. Dodd,

Depictions of gun violence are reportedly more common in movies rated PG-13 than in those that are rated R. This discovery supports criticism claiming that these ratings may focus too heavily on the explicitness of violence, and not enough on factors like context and gratuitousness. Parents should be given the information they need to make their own decisions.

A PG-13 rating only suggests that children might not be mature enough to handle some content in the movie and that parents should research the film. If you really want to help parents, you should give them ratings based on quantifiable data (i.e. a percentage of the movie that features guns or gun violence) so that they can make decisions based on their own values. I urge you to reconsider how movies are rated, and introduce a system based on the frequency of offensive depictions.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Thomas Wolf

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One Comment

  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    all movie ratings have gun violence so why show guns? think about abolishing violent movies altogether?

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