Penn and Teller Get Gun Controlled

An unexpected side effect of gun laws on the act of magic duo Penn and Teller, blogged by Justin Robert Young, editor of the magic site iTricks and friend of Reason:

Penn and Teller wrapped up a few shows on the east coast over the Memorial Day weekend, but the rabid audiences excited to see the Bad Boys of Magic did not get to witness their signature effect. The famous bullet catch, performed as the grand finale to their Vegas show did not make an appearance thanks to local gun laws.

A summary, from the horse's mouth (Penn's obviously, since he's the one who talks):

“You can’t do guns in Atlantic City,” Jillette lamented. “Even bribes couldn’t [help]. They get very jumpy about .357 Magnums in Atlantic City.”

Young says the duo encountered the same problem at the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut, and had to finish their act with a fire trick instead.

More Reason on Penn and Teller here, here, here, and here.

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  • ||

    I like to think that sometime, when Penn and Teller are very old (and still performing in Vegas), they'll agree that enough is enough and actually shoot each other on stage. The ultimate finale! It just seems so apropos for them, especially considering that firearms will likely be entirely illegal by then.

    I'm disappointed that they weren't nominated to the Supreme Court, by the way.

  • ||

    They would encounter the same problems in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

  • ||

    Is it suicide/conspiracy to commit suicide if they agree to shoot each other, or is it murder?

  • ||

    "Is it suicide/conspiracy to commit suicide if they agree to shoot each other, or is it murder?"

    Either way it's long overdue.

    Just kidding. I love those guys if for nothing else, waxing that super-hot brunette's asshole on "Bullshit".

  • Mister DNA||

    The great thing about Penn & Teller is that they didn't just substitute another trick for the Bullet Catch; you can be sure that the audience was informed that they were missing out on an awesome trick due to shitty gun laws.

    (btw, it should go without saying that they don;t have any problems doing the trick in Texas - I saw them do the Bullet Catch in Fort Worth).

  • George Oscar Bluth||

    Not a trick, Michael. An ILLUSION.

  • Mister DNA||

    A trick is something a hooker does for money... or cocaine.

  • Warty||

    Oh no! They've made a huge mistake!

  • ||

    They'll never make it into Poof! this way.

  • ||

    P&T should substitute some sort of bee trick for the gun one. Something where bees get in their eyes or something like that.

  • Mister DNA||

    Can they do the Bullet Catch at the Gothic Castle?

  • ||

    Are theater groups not allowed to put guns into actors hands? What's the difference? When does a prop become a gun?

    And a trick is a trick. Insisting on calling it an "illusion" or "effect" is just part of the trick.

  • ||

    "A trick is something a hooker does for money... or cocaine."

    No. She performs an illusion.

  • ||

    I wonder if there are any other libertarian magicians?

  • ||

    Mr. DNA, I believe the Magician's Alliance has disallowed it.

    And, Epi, bees aren't cheap. Wait, are bees cheap?

  • LarryA||

    I'd lay odds that if Hollywood wanted to shoot Die Hard VII in Atlantic City, they'd have permission for all the guns they could haul in.

  • Warty||

    Can one train bees to fly out of one's attack dogs' mouths? If so, mark me down for a gross.

  • ||

    Are theater groups not allowed to put guns into actors hands? What's the difference? When does a prop become a gun?

    Warren, in CT, NJ, and NY you can't possess pistols unless you have obtained a permit for such. Therefore, for P&T to bring in guns for the trick, they would have to have such a permit. These states don't honor any other state's permits, either.

  • ||

    They'll never make it into Poof! this way.

    What is the "Poof!" you speak of Dagny?

  • Tobias Fünke||

    Anyone who doesn't like Penn & Teller needs to be analraped.

  • ||

    Pish, Warty. Bees. How weak. Warty, my dogs are equipped to have monkeys fly out their butts. Ninja monkeys.

  • ||

    Wait, are bees cheap?

    Killer bees are!

  • ||

    You know what would be cool? If we could somehow make groups of bees form shapes as they chase people, à la cartoons. Maybe little chips implanted in their wee bee brains could make them fly in formation?

  • ||

    Epi,
    But these "guns" are stage props. Do those states issue permits for "things that look like guns"? And how much resemblance is required before the state considers it a gun?

  • ||

    Warren, you should be in that poof.

  • ||

    But these "guns" are stage props. Do those states issue permits for "things that look like guns"?

    No, if they can fire then they are "real" guns. And P&T use a real gun in their act anyway.

    The fact of the matter is that P&T have the money and the clout to most likely be able to do this tric...illusion if they want, but instead they are going the route of publicizing oppressive gun laws. Which I applaud them for.

  • ||

    "Release the robotic Richard Simmons!"

  • Joshua Poulson||

    I saw this trick in Vegas at the Rio on May 16th 2009, and while I was not one that was invited onstage, I was in the third row and the guns didn't look like props to me.

    Minor minus: a "cartridge" was referred to as a "bullet" before they were fired.

    Big plus: got autographs from Penn & Teller in the lobby afterward.

  • ||

    Warren, in CT, NJ, and NY you can't possess pistols unless you have obtained a permit for such.



    Oh, that's why I never hear about any murders in those states.

  • Ching Ling Foo||

    Chung Ling Soo is spinning in his grave

  • JB||

    Just thinking about guns hurts their vaginas in Atlantic City.

  • Mike||

    I'm hoping that Penn and Teller can make Washington DC disappear.

  • John Bravo||

    Years ago, while in her teens, well known magician Dorothy Dietrich, the first and only woman to catch a bullet in her mouth, did do the bullet catch in Atlantic City as a featured presentation at Resorts International for Donald Trump's special series of events there. It was written up in the Philadelphia Inquirer and was filmed for international television on a show called "Just For The Record, The Best Of Everything!" It was shot on slow motion film and shown throughout the world. The bullet was fired from a rifle not a pistol, so that may have made the difference, or times just change. At the time she did have a current gun permit for the rifle. They did check her ID as well as police records before approving it after some going back and forth. It was ok'd by the FBI, police and authorities at the time. Police were upset that she had carried the weapon across state lines into New Jersey until they found the rifle was transported in pieces in different suitcases, unloaded with a lock on the firing mechanism. The stunt did garner headlines in several papers and was shown on several news shows as well as the Montel Williams show. Actual photos of the event with the Resorts International Logo in the background can be seen at http://houdini.org/resorts.html. She has also done it in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Los Angles, and Montreal for various television appearances.

    Dorothy Dietrich is a traveling performer who is currently a featured magician at The Houdini Museum in Scranton, PA in her magic show that includes doves, a rabbit, a duck and two poodles, along with audience participation and the levitation of an audience member. Dorothy Dietrich also performs along with paranormaiist Dick Brooks, in their evening Psychic Theater and Seance Show called "Haunted!... Mind Mysteries and THE Beyond!" Columbia University Encyclopedia called her one of the 'most noted magicians of the late 20th century."

  • wingnutx||

    But these "guns" are stage props.

    I helped them do the trick in Scottsdale, and it was definitely a real gun and real ammunition.

    I still have the spent shell and the bullet that Teller spat into my hand.

    The only thing I couldn't verify was how much powder it had. I suspect that they are lightly loaded.

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  • Sean W. Malone||

    Pro Libertate:

    There are tons of libertarian or libertarian-leaning magicians. Or at the very least I think you'll find the majority of them to be skeptics and rational-thought fans.

    Obviously there's James Randi, but listening to interviews with Criss Angel, Amazing Jonathan and others i've found many have a lot of pro-freedom tendencies. A lot of people who are sort of carney trash tend to be that way though.

    Plus there's former magician D.J. Grothe who runs the Center for Inquiry - who I talk to on a semi-regular basis... Definitely a liberal, but who is certainly open to various points I've brought up occasionally encouraging him to be more broadly pro-freedom (his pet issues are Gay rights & religious liberty/atheism).

    Anyway... wouldn't be surprised to see a much higher percentage of magicians in the mostly-libertarian camp than in the general entertainment world. Also a higher percentage of gays... Which honestly (speaking of the marching people outside my house here in Hollywood), *should* all be libertarian.

  • Curtis||

    I was at the Foxwoods show and it was great - the fire eating was cool, but now that I know it was a replacement for a bullet catch, I'm pissed.

    Screw you, Connecticut!

  • medic||

    Warren, in CT, NJ, and NY you can't possess pistols unless you have obtained a permit for such. Therefore, for P&T to bring in guns for the trick, they would have to have such a permit. These states don't honor any other state's permits, either."

    Thats funny..they do the same thing with marriage.

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