Hollywood hardman Liam Neeson has defended his gun-toting action movies and called for a universal crackdown on privately-owned firearms in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks in France.

The Taken star, who is often seen in onscreen shoot-ups, has expressed his shock following the massacre in Paris last week (ends11Jan15) at the headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and insisted guns need to be taken out of the hands of private citizens.

During a trip to Dubai to promote his latest action film Taken 3, Neeson tells Gulfnews.com, "First off, my thoughts and prayers and my heart are with the deceased, and certainly with all of France, yesterday. I've got a lot of dear friends in Paris... There's too many... guns out there. Especially in America. I think the population is like, 320 million? There's over 300 million guns. Privately owned, in America. I think it's a... disgrace. Every week now we're picking up a newspaper and seeing, 'Yet another few kids have been killed in schools'."

However, Neeson is adamant shooting violence in movies should not be blamed for real life atrocities and adds of his gun-toting Taken persona, "A character like Bryan Mills going out with guns and taking revenge: it's fantasy. It's in the movies, you know? I think it can give people a great release from stresses in life and all the rest of it, you know what I mean? It doesn't mean they're all going to go out and go, 'Yeah, let's get a gun!'"

Terrorists killed 12 people during a rampage at the offices of Charlie Hebdo last Wednesday (07Jan15). The attack was reportedly in response to the magazine's publication of cartoons showing depictions of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, a move that is forbidden in Islam.