under the gun poster

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming May 15 at 8 p.m. et/pt, 7 central during the free EPIX weekend is the Official Selection at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival exploring gun violence in America with UNDER THE GUN.

Narrated and Executive Produced by Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, they bring a deeper look into the gun debate. The documentary begins with the questions most American ask themselves, with the rise in gun violence, how is it that more action isn’t being taken to protect people of all ages.

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The debate between those who are looking for stricter gun control to the NRA who are afraid their Second Amendment rights are being taken from them, there seems to be no compromise.

Yet our country lives through the tragedies of Newton, Aurora, Isla Vista and Tucson as well as daily gun violence not just in Chicago but everywhere. The rise of mass shootings has become an epidemic and here are a few staggering facts:

  • On average there are almost 33,000 gun deaths each year
  • On average, 297 people in America are shot everyday with 89 deaths
  • Gun violence is the second leading cause of death in children from 10-19
  • There are between 270 million and 310 million guns in the United States
  • The manufacturing and distribution of teddy bears is more tightly regulated for health and safety than handguns

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The documentary allows viewers to listen to Gabby Gifford who was one of 19 people shot in a mass shooting at a Safeway and Mark Kelly lead Americans for Responsible Solutions; and Jackie and Mark Barden lost their seven-year-old son Daniel began the Sandy Hook Promise.

Other groups include Sandie and Lonnie Phillips with Jessi’s Message, John Feinblatt and Richard Martinez, who lost son Christopher shot on the UC Santa Barbara campus lead Everytown for Gun Safety; Victoria Montgomery with Open Carry Texas; Shannon Watts with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Finally, Pamela and Tom Bosley with Purpose Over Pain and The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Couric and Soechtig bring the facts forward and actually have no problem calling out the names of the politicians who continually refuse to make any compromise to the safety of Americans. After what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, it shocks me how those we vote for and put in a place of speaking for us, do not see the horror of what happened that day.

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What brought these two women together to make this documentary? Soechtig says, “I was pregnant at the time of the Newton shooting and it felt like I was bringing my son into a very different world than the world before 12/14. So when Katie called me after the Isla Vista shooting and asked me if I thought we should make a film about the gun violence epidemic, I felt a new motivation”.

Couric is an award-winning journalist and a well-known face that people trust when it comes to the news as co-anchor of the NBC’s Today show. This isn’t the first documentary she has put together to bring awareness to important issues. In 2014, Couric was an executive producer and also narrated FED UP which is a documentary about childhood obesity. Anyone with children please listen when I say FED UP is a must-see!

UNDER THE GUN is another must-see on so many levels. There is absolutely nothing wrong with listening to those who are concerned about losing their Second Amendment rights to bear arms. I am all for hearing gun-owners out and speaking with a cool head and I heard what they said in the documentary. That being said, I still don’t understand their reasoning behind safely, security and precautions.

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There is so much in this documentary to take in and after viewing is an amazing way to open the door for discussion to be sure but, more importantly, ACTION! Each of the organizations that speak in the documentary share a goal of making sure that the loss of their loved ones doesn’t happen to any other family.

On May 15th as part of the EPIX free preview weekend, I encourage every family to come together for a documentary that will insight deep emotion of every kind yet is also informative and uplifting by those who have turned their pain into voices of change.

This documentary gives us all a place to start!

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