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People at South by Southwest watching a movie. Photo: Jim Bennett/WireImage via Getty Images

A marked increase in gun violence in PG-13-rated movies may necessitate a new PG-15 rating for the industry, according to a new study from the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

The big picture: The study found that the amount of gun violence in PG-13 films, which often sanitize both the bloodiness and consequence of such violence, had more than doubled since the rating's inception in 1985 — and even jumped above R-rated films in recent years.

The findings: Parents are more willing to let their children watch PG-13 movies with gun violence as long as it's "justified" or used in self-defense — even still, they believe that children should be around 15 to watch justified gun violence and 16 to watch unjustified gun violence.

  • Dan Romer, the study's lead researcher, said that PG-13 ratings are dishonest and that movies with PG-13 ratings often have a tendency to be more violent than R-rated films. "Hollywood is taking advantage of parents," he said.
  • The study also hoped to show the effects that viewing such violence could have on children, as a "sanitized" PG-13 version of gun violence might desensitize them. Romer said, “Hollywood is exploiting the movie rating system by leaving out harmful consequences like blood and suffering from PG-13 films ... But this gun violence may be just as brutal and potentially harmful to young viewers.”

Go deeper

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.