Hollywood is ready to participate in a meaningful dialogue about gun violence after the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school last week, Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said Thursday.
The first public comments on the shooting from Hollywood's top lobbyist come nearly a week after the mass killing left 26 people dead, many of them children.
The killings also sparked calls from Dodd's old Senate colleague Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) for stricter regulations to protect children from violent images on television, videogames and other media.
Although the movie business has found itself the focus of some criticism for promoting violence in society, Dodd said he has reached out to the Obama administration on behalf of the industry he represents.
"Those of us in the motion picture and television industry want to do our part to help America heal," Dodd said. "We stand ready to be part of the national conversation."
"As chairman of the MPAA and on behalf of the motion picture and television studios we represent, we join all Americans in expressing our sympathy as well as our horror and outrage at this senseless act of violence," he added.
For Dodd, the killings had a personal impact. He represented Connecticut in the House and later in the Senate for over four decades. He retired from public office in 2010.
"As a citizen of Connecticut and having represented the people there for 36 years in Washington, I have been shocked and profoundly saddened by this tragedy," Dodd said. "My heart goes out to the community as I know they will carry this pain with them long after the spotlight on Newtown has dimmed."
In the wake of the mass-shooting, Hollywood has scrambled to show its sensitivity to the victims. Films like "Jack Reacher" canceled premieres and toned down gunplay in advertisements, while shows like "American Dad" pulled episodes their networks considered to be in poor taste in light of the events.