Liam Neeson has made over $30 million shooting guns at bad guys in the “Taken” movie trilogy, but is now decrying the high number of “privately owned” firearms in the U.S.
“There’s too many [expletive] guns out there,” Neeson told Gulf News, a Dubai-based English language newspaper, ahead of the premier of “Taken 3.”
Neeson plays a retired gun-wielding CIA operative named Bryan Mills in the trilogy. He reportedly earned $1 million for his role in “Taken” in 2008, $10 million for “Taken 2” and $20 million for his role in the final installment of the series.
“Especially in America. I think the population is like, 320 million? There’s over 300 million guns. Privately owned, in America. I think it’s a [expletive] disgrace,” Neeson told Gulf News.
“Every week now we’re picking up a newspaper and seeing, ‘Yet another few kids have been killed in schools.'”
Neeson was not asked to reconcile these sentiments with his films, but denied that movies emphasizing guns cause real-life gun violence.
“I grew up watching cowboy movies, loved doing that [gun gesture] with my fingers, ‘Bang, bang, you’re dead!’ I didn’t end up a killer,” Neeson said. “I think that’s something the power of cinema can be.”
“A character like Bryan Mills going out with guns and taking revenge: it’s fantasy,” the 62-year-old Neeson continued.
“It’s in the movies, you know? I think it can give people a great release from stresses in life and all the rest of it, you know what I mean? It doesn’t mean they’re all going to go out and go, ‘Yeah, let’s get a gun!'”
School shootings also do not occur as frequently as Neeson claims, the website Bearing Arms points out.
The last mass shooting at a high school occurred Oct. 24, 2014 at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Wash. Five students, including the gunman, died during that shooting.
Another shooting occurred at Florida State University’s library on Nov. 20. Three were wounded, and the gunman was fatally shot by police.
Neeson could be borrowing from claims made by the anti-gun group Moms Demand Action. The group circulated a graphic in June which claimed 74 school shootings had occurred in the U.S. since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. in December 2012. (RELATED: CNN Slashes School Shooting Stats Claim By 80 Percent)
CNN reported that claim but later revised it after analyzing the nature of the shootings. CNN found that only 15 shootings that had occurred at schools matched the profile of the shooting at Sandy Hook. The rest involved personal disputes and were targeted at particular individuals.