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Few issues within America’s culture wars conjure up more emotion than gun rights. The Second Amendment guarantees "the right of the people to keep and bear arms"—sort of. The verbiage can be seen as convoluted, and contains a dependent clause that includes the phrase "well regulated militia." America's gun laws are an inconsistent patchwork of state regulations. Some states permit open and concealed carry in certain places while a handgun permit is nearly impossible to obtain in others.
In the battle between gun-rights activists and gun-control advocates, celebrities are often known to come down on the side of the latter. Hollywood's nearly-universal endorsement of stricter gun laws is so well-known, in fact, that it's often assumed most celebrities hate guns. This is not in fact the case. As this list suggests, many of the world's most elite and high-profile entertainers, actors, musicians, athletes, bloggers and even chefs are enthusiastic gun-owners and advocates for gun rights.
Read on—some of the celebrities on this list may surprise you.
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Movie star Brad Pitt is no stranger to wielding guns on-screen, but he's also a firearms aficionado in his private life. In a 2012 interview with the Daily Mail, the "Fight Club" actor said that the violence in some of his movies only reflects the fact that mankind lives in a violent world—a reason why he owns guns.
"America is a country founded on guns," the actor said in the interview. "It’s in our DNA. It’s very strange, but I feel better having a gun. I really do. I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel the house is completely safe, if I don’t have one hidden somewhere. That’s my thinking, right or wrong."
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Until their recent split, Brad Pitt was half of one of Hollywood's greatest power couples. The other: Angelina Jolie, who also has a professed love affair with firearms. According to Forbes, Jolie and Pitt had his-and-hers custom pistols made just for them. Jolie reportedly said, "I've gone to the range with sniper rifles and things like that. Brad and I both like it a lot. That is something we have in common."
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Known worldwide as TV super-investigator "Magnum P.I.," actor Tom Selleck is also a board member of the powerful pro-gun lobbying group, the National Rifle Association (NRA). According to NRA On the Record, the avid libertarian engaged in a discussion with Rosie O'Donnell about the necessity of guns for security. He asked, "Do you really think the Second Amendment is in the Constitution to guarantee hunting and target shooting?"
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Known as "The Mailman," 14-time All-Star Karl Malone earned the title of the second-leading scorer in NBA history during his nearly two decades in the league. He's also an avid gun enthusiast and NRA board member. NRA On the Record reports that Malone once wrote in Sports Illustrated, "I'll be the first to tell you I don't go anywhere in my vehicle without my weapon."
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Bruce Willis is probably best-known for his leading role in the genre-defining action movie "Die Hard," but he doesn't agree there's a correlation between guns in movies and violence in real life. According to Business Insider, Willis worries that any diminishing of the Second Amendment could lead to a reduction of all Constitutional protections.
"I think that you can't start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it's all going to become undone," the actor told the publication.
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1970s and 80s martial arts action superstar Chuck Norris is an NRA spokesperson, a vocal opponent of gun control, and a longtime supporter of what NRA On the Record calls "right wing causes." When a Texas church fell victim to a mass shooting in 2015, Norris chastised all houses of worship for not using guns to shore up their defenses.
According to NRA On the Record, Norris used his family ranch as an example: "It has an engraved picture of a gun with the words next to it: ‘We don’t call 9-1-1.’ Maybe it’s time a few churches put that sign on their doors, too.”
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From his origins as a rapper to his role as a television cop on "Law and Order: SVU" to movies like "New Jack City," guns have been a part of Ice-T’s persona from the beginning of his career. He's also a gun-owner in real life. According to The Economist, his position is all about self-defense in a dangerous, well-armed country. Ice-T told the publication, "I'll give up my gun when everybody else does."
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In 2015, actor Vince Vaughn opened up to GQ about the fact that he supports "people having a gun in public full stop, not just in your home." Vaughn explained that gun rights are about individual liberties and resistance to a tyrannical state. He also explained that he believes gun control simply doesn't work.
Vaughn said, "Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat. Taking away guns, taking away drugs, the booze, it won't rid the world of criminality."
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In 2012, the New York Post reported on wealthy and famous New Yorkers who were granted permission by the NYPD to carry a gun—a privilege afforded to almost no one in the gun-prohibitive Big Apple. Among them was famed movie star Robert De Niro. In a 2012 interview, the actor told the Daily Intelligencer that he believes in gun control, but when it comes to lawful, responsible gun-owners, "you can't infringe on their rights."
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As the daughter of a police officer, country superstar Miranda Lambert grew up around guns and learned "what a gun is used for, how to use a gun," according to a 2014 interview with the Huffington Post. She spoke of her joy of shooting with then-husband Blake Shelton. Although she loves her guns, the singer isn't political.
“I never preach guns one way or another," she said in the interview. "This is just the way I grew up.”
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In 2010, Texas-born movie star Amber Heard told the Daily Mail she has a dog named Pistol and that "my baby is a .357 Magnum." She said she grew up around guns and that "I'm fully trained and I'm an active member of a gun club. I'm definitely pro-gun." She went on to qualify her statement, however, by saying "...I think there needs to be reform, because over 30,000 people in the U.S. died from gunshot wounds in the last year alone."
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According to the Huffington Post, Amber Heard's former husband Johnny Depp doesn't have a gun license, but that doesn't mean he's anti-gun by any means. In fact, he grew up shooting from a young age.
"We would just go out and line up a bunch of cans and shoot with rifles, handguns and at times, submachine guns," he is reported as saying. He also added that he plans to carry on the tradition. "I will most certainly take my kids out for target practice," he said.
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James Hetfield is known as the frontman of the band Metallica. He's also a member of the NRA and a big game hunter, according to the Washington Times. In the interview, the musician said, "I love my guns. I love that my dad handed them down to me and I’m taking care of them."
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During a 2006 Chicago Tribune interview about her film "The Sentinel," "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria recounted her childhood growing up with guns and how the experience prepared her for her role in the movie.
"I love shooting guns..." she said in the interview. "Being able to do that was just like a vacation for me—instead of getting dressed up and putting on lingerie."
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Few actors are more closely associated with guns than Dirty Harry himself: Clint Eastwood. The actor and director's on-screen roles portraying no-nonsense gunslingers extends, at least partly, into Eastwood's personal life.
According to the Washington Examiner, Eastwood is a major proponent of responsible firearm ownership. "I am a grand believer in the safety of firearms," Eastwood is reported as saying. He went on to tell an anecdote about a woman pulled over by police who then found a cache of legally registered guns in her car. When the cops asked what she's afraid of, the woman responded, "freakin' nothing."
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Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry is a major gun enthusiast, as was revealed to the world by his guest appearance on the Discovery Channel's "Sons of Guns." Perry went onto explain his disapproval of the inconsistent, confusing, and often conflicting state laws that govern gun ownership in America.
“It seems ridiculous that you can be in one state with your driver’s license and buy a firearm, and then in the next state it is totally illegal," he said.
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Actress Eliza Dushku brought a hunting bow with her to an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" She talked about her love of hunting and shooting, as well as her experience killing an elk and a deer on separate hunting trips. When the crowd objected, she joked that her mother called to chastise her and say that she expected better from "a liberal from New England."
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Women, cars, and guns are the central themes of Instagram superstar Dan Bilzerian's online persona. According to the Washington Post, the outspoken gun enthusiast was present at the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas in 2017 and apparently tried—to no avail—to convince a police officer to give him a gun so he could shoot back. Bilzerian once captioned a photo of his gun collection with: “My greatest fear is that someone will break in & I won’t be able to decide what #gun to shoot them with."
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Samuel L. Jackson is another famous actor who is often armed and dangerous on-screen, and at least armed in real life. In a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Jackson talked about owning guns as a principal form of self-defense. He said he'd be willing to shoot an intruder, and talked about the security that guns provided growing up as an African-American in the South.
“In my black community, everybody was loading their guns because we were just sure that, OK, they killed Kennedy, the Klan is coming for us,” he said.
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One of the highest-earning actors in Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence made waves when she was confronted by animal rights group PETA after "The Hunger Games" depicted a squirrel being skinned and eaten. Her response during an interview with Rolling Stone was "screw PETA."
Although the comment delighted hunters, it had nothing to do with gun ownership—but another one of her statements did. She reportedly is uncomfortable with the lack of privacy that comes with fame and told the magazine she plans on buying a house: "And a big dog. And a shotgun."
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In 2010, Ashton Kutcher, who was at the time married to Demi Moore, told the Daily Mail that the pair had a love affair with guns. In fact, Kutcher said that he often teaches the would-be boyfriends of Moore's daughter to shoot guns when they come visit. The pair apparently started collecting guns shortly after they got married in 2005.
"She was working on a movie in Louisiana, so we went out and both got [guns]," Kutcher said in the interview. "She got a Glock and I got a Springfield."
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Between her role as "G.I. Jane," her marriage to Bruce Willis, and her marriage to Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore became what the Daily Mail in 2010 called a "gun fanatic." That year, then-husband Ashton Kutcher tweeted a photo of Moore blasting off a few rounds of an AR-15 and included the message "This is why we don't mess with Mrs. Kutcher."
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In a 2014 interview with Esquire, movie star Chris Pratt discussed what separates him from the bulk of the Hollywood in-crowd. Not the least of which: his collection of guns, which, Pratt told the magazine, is 30 or 40 firearms strong. He even bought a gun for then-wife Anna Faris, although he did go onto explain that he believes in reasonable gun control, including background checks.
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James Earl Jones is the voice of Darth Vader, but doesn't rely on a glowing sword when trouble arises. Jones is a card-carrying member of the NRA. According to the Huffington Post, Jones said, "The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win, and the decent people will lose."
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Brantley Gilbert is a country music superstar, and according to Rolling Stone, the country music world was forced to have a reckoning with its collective stance on guns when a Las Vegas shooter massacred members of the crowd during a Jason Aldean concert.
Anyone who is uncertain where Gilbert stands on the issue needs only to look at the singer's back, which is almost entirely covered with a tattoo celebrating the Second Amendment—complete with an image of twin pistols.
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Eric Clapton is one of the most celebrated musicians of his generation—and he's also a gun-lover. In a 2008 interview with Contact Music, the "Wonderful Tonight" singer reported feeling a cathartic release from shooting that warms him up to social situations.
"I'm not really that gregarious. And shooting with groups of people up and down the country has taught me a lot about how to get on with my fellow human beings," the famed guitarist said in the interview.
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Iconic shock-jock Howard Stern had a lot to say about gun control in the aftermath of the 2016 Orlando nightclub massacre. Billboard reported that on his radio show, Stern said he's anti-violence, but made an analogy to "sheep and wolves," with wolves being criminals and mass shooters and the sheep being helpless victims. That, he explained, is why citizens need to arm themselves. "Do you want a fighting chance or not?" Stern asked his listeners.
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Celebrity chef and Food Network star Alton Brown is apparently as fond of guns as he is of cuisine. According to Guns.com, Brown carries a gun most days, and when he's at his residence, gun becomes guns.
The publication reported that Brown tweeted: “At home we like to say the house is protected by Mossberg, but the Mossberg is protected by H&K.”
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You can count Whoopi Goldberg among the outspokenly left-leaning Hollywood insiders who are also gun-owners. When asked by Stephen Colbert about her stance on guns in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, "The View" host replied, "Actually, I’m a gun owner, babe,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I also believe in a woman’s right to choose. We can be lots of different things in one body, which is what I encompass.”
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It’s not possible to have a conversation about American celebrities and guns without mentioning Ted Nugent, who is perhaps the most vocal, most controversial, and most passionate celebrity gun enthusiast on Earth. The "Cat Scratch Fever" rocker is a longtime NRA board member, and his quotes in support of the right to bear arms are too numerous to mention. Among the choicest is, "Disarmed and helpless is an irresponsible, suicidal choice that will get you killed. Defend yourself."