After exposing the ills of the food industry in FED UP, Katie Couric and Stephanie Soechtig are turning their lens on gun control in the United States. Gun control is a minefield of impassioned views, opinions on constitutional rights, and a variety of feelings on the best way to protect our families, our communities, and ourselves — and we firmly believe that knowledge is power when it comes to the state of gun affairs in our country. Under the Gun examines the ways that gun control is regulated in the U.S.A and begs the question of why, after so many tragedies have occurred in this nation, we have such a problem with gun violence. Looking at communities that have been decimated by gun violence, such as parts of Chicago — and examining the massacres that took place at Sandy Hook and in Aurora, Under the Gun exposes the flaws in our current system and gives hope for ways to address them.
Much of the movie concerns interviews with families who have been affected by gun violence as well as a variety of experts on the issue. It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of the family members who have lost loved ones to gun violence, whether they are young or old, and chilling to understand how easily it could happen to any of us. It’s also frustrating to hear how certain government and private industry groups have actively worked against any form of enhanced gun control under the notion that it violated second amendment freedoms. Interspersed among interviews with family and friends are appalling statistics and facts:
- There are more gun shops in this country than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined.
- A loophole allows for people to buy guns at a gun show without a background check.
- The system by which background checks are completed (which need to addressed within 72 hours or are automatically approved) is so overwhelmed and so fragmented that thousands of people each year who would have been denied approval are granted it due to lack of centralized information.
- People who are on the N0-Fly list for suspected terrorism can buy guns.
- Americans are 20 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries.
- Gun violence claims an average of 33,000 lives per year.
- The NRA represents only 5 percent of gun owners.
Under the Gun breaks down some of the arguments against further gun control measures, such as the common idea that gun control advocates are trying to take away people’s guns (as opposed to keeping guns from getting into the wrong hands in the first place). It also makes an interesting distinction between most of the members of the NRA (many of whom would support common sense regulations and restrictions) and its administration, which is inextricably linked with the gun industry. Gun control remains a hot-button debate, but the film works to build awareness about the issue in a logical, reasoned way. Often, after a tragic event occurs, there is great debate for a short period of time and then fervor dissipates, even as the problem persists. Under the Gun focuses on some of the positive efforts taking place towards discussion and legislation, including closing the gun show loophole in certain areas, as well as the active and vocal roles gun violence survivors and the families of gun violence victims are taking to keep the issue in the public eye. We just wish that the action these gun control advocates were taking hadn’t come as a result of suffering from or having lost a loved one to gun violence.