LOS ANGELES – Arnold Schwarzenegger is uniquely positioned to address the gun control debate, having been the star of many ultraviolent action movies, as well as the governor of the nation's most populous state.
Promoting his new action movie "The Last Stand," Schwarzenegger told FOX411 that Hollywood violence is all make believe, and that he thinks the root causes of gun violence like that which occurred in Newtown, Conn., where a lone gunman killed 20 children and six adults, lay elsewhere.
“It is such a horrific tragedy, but we have to separate out what is in the movies – which is pure entertainment – and what is out there in reality," Schwarzenegger told FOX411. "When you have a tragedy like that and you lose so many lives, I think you owe it to society to do everything you can and look at everything – dealing with mental health, parenting in America, are the schools safe, and do we have the right safety features in place, and should we look at gun laws again, and look if there are any loopholes that can be closed."
“It is a very complex issue," he added. "We are a democracy, and we can’t just go out when you see someone acting strange and take them off the street and make them disappear. But do we have things in place to deal with that? We have to look at all those things. We owe it to our children and our society.”
In remarks at the White House on Wednesday in which he announced new gun control initiatives, President Obama made no reference to popular culture or Hollywood, but did single out video games and called for fresh examination of their impact.
The Motion Picture Association of America, led by former Senator Chris Dodd, said in a statement released jointly with broadcasting and cable groups that they welcome "further academic examination" and echoed Schwarzenegger, calling gun violence "a complex problem."
“The Last Stand,” which pairs Schwarzenegger with Johnny Knoxville, is slated of release next week, and looks to be cut from the same "Terminator" and "Predator" shoot-em-up cloth that made Schwarzenegger one of Hollywood's most bankable stars. But after being away from movies while running California, and being embroiled in his own love child/cheating scandal, Schwarzenegger wasn't sure if anyone would want to see him onscreen.
“I was very fortunate that I had the chance to work with (Sylvester) Stallone in ‘The Expendables,’ and do cameos. I saw that the audience responded very well because you just never know, you have a little bit of insecurity there and you wonder ‘Will they still accept me? Am I welcome in that club?’ Schwarzenegger said. “I was, and it was a pleasant surprise so I felt confident that I could step into a starring role and be surrounded by some very talented actors.”
And while Schwarzenegger calls sitting in the statehouse in Sacramento 'an honor,' it sounds like he's glad to be back in L.A.
“It’s nice after seven years to continue with the movie business," he said. "I felt very passionate from the beginning when I became an actor and worked my way up to be a leading man, I was looking forward to going back.”