Flame Con Adopts New Prop Gun Policy Out of Respect for Orlando Pulse Shooting Victims

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Flame Con, now in its second year in New York City, is a two-day comics and pop culture expo showcasing creators and celebrities of LGBTQIA geek fandom. It should come as no surprise that the recent shooting at the club Pulse in Orlando, FL hit Flame Con’s organizers hard, and they’ve decided to make a change in their cosplay policy out of respect for those victims.

The convention is asking cosplayers to leave their prop and toy guns at home, no matter how fake they look. It is important to Flame Con, now more than ever, that the LGBTQIA fans and creators in attendance feel like they are in a safe space, and this is one way for them to do that. In addition to not allowing guns of any kind no matter how fake they look, they are also not allowing other types of weapons that look or feel real.

From their official press release:

Spread the word! Flame Con will not allow the following items:

  • Any weapon of any kind—bladed or projectile—that looks or feels real.
  • Any kind of gun or simulacrum of a firearm, no matter how fake it looks.
  • Any prop that is heavy, hard, or sharp enough to injure a person (Err on the side of caution).

When crafting your props, keep it light and keep it safe. You can do a lot with foam!

If you’re concerned that your cosplay absolutely needs guns or other weapons to work, Flame Con is willing to help you adapt to the policy by helping you come up with creative alternatives to traditional guns. If you think about it, it’s also a great way to make a fun statement against gun violence. Imagine Black Widow holding these in her hands. Actually, I’m not sure if even that is “too gun” for this policy. The point is, you can think outside the box, and Flame Con is willing to help if you reach out to them. As they put it, “Your cosplay at Flame Con will help our community make a strong, colorful statement against gun violence, and our culture’s toxic love of firearms.”

Flame Con is setting a great example of how to think of what we’re used to in new ways, how to reconsider the things we may have thought were indispensable. Regardless of how you personally feel about guns, the fact is that there’s no reason why they need to be so glorified and relentlessly present in our pop culture. But guns have become synonymous with “badass,” and so they’re often the shorthand, go-to way to express that in a character. Yet there’s more than one way to be badass, and there are other weapons we can use to fight.

Personally, snark is my weapon of choice. How about yours?

(logo via Flame Con)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.