Should Someone on the Terror Watch List Be Able to Buy a Gun? Katie Couric Goes Under The Gun to Explore America’s Gun Culture

Did you know Teddy bear production and distribution is regulated more intensely than that of guns?

This is just one of many sobering facts presented in Katie Couric’s documentary Under the Gun. Executive producer Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig hope their film can change the discourse on gun violence.

flagThe documentary, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, explores this simple question: why is it so hard to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people?

It combines the compelling stories of victims, such as families affected by the mass shooting in Newtown Connecticut, with evidence of our nation’s gun problem, while acknowledging and exploring the principal arguments of gun rights advocates.

Still, it can be nearly impossible to sway opinions on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. In his review for Variety, Geoff Berkshire wrote, “…the goal here isn’t to change minds; it’s to reignite the anger of the silent majority — those familiar feelings that bubble up and then dissipate whenever another mass shooting occurs.”

You can see for yourself on May 15, when Under the Gun makes its world television premiere on EPIX.

“During this Presidential election year, we at EPIX want to contribute to the national dialogue on the major issues affecting our country today,” said EPIX President and CEO Mark S. Greenberg. “I can think of no more pressing subject than gun violence, and I am extremely proud to bring Under the Gun to EPIX viewers.”

Using the hashtag #UnderTheGun, EPIX is promoting more than just the film. The viral marketing campaign encourages viewers to arm themselves with knowledge. On the website, you’ll find pre-loaded fact cards that can be shared on social media – 90 percent of guns used in crimes can be traced back to five percent of gun dealers, for example – along with sources.

Using a search-bar, the site allows you to find your local elected officials by ZIP code and deliver your opinion on gun violence. It even suggests talking points, such as confronting gun loopholes and funding the CDC’s gun violence research.

Couric, who covered mass shootings throughout her career, was inspired to create the educational film after finding herself confused by our country’s polarizing divide on the gun-violence epidemic.

“I hope this film will help people have a better understanding of how we got to this point,” said Couric. “Now is the time for a truly informed, rational conversation about gun violence.”

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 05: Director Stephanie Soechtig, Co-Founder of Purpose Over Pain Pamela Bosley, Campaign Manager for The Brady Campaihn John Gruber, Executive Producer Katie Couric, President of Everytown for Gun Safety John Feinblatt and Father Michael Pfleger attend the Chicago premiere of 'Under the Gun' on May 5, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for EPIX)

Director Stephanie Soechtig, Co-Founder of Purpose Over Pain, Pamela Bosley, Campaign Manager for The Brady Campaign John Gruber, Executive Producer Katie Couric, President of Everytown for Gun Safety John Feinblatt and Father Michael Pfleger attend the Chicago premiere of ‘Under the Gun’ on May 5, 2016.

It’s important to note that the film is not anti-gun. While it does scrutinize the National Rifle Association for blocking attempts at gun regulation, it doesn’t demonize its members. Through interviews and polls, NRA members express their support for increased background checks.

The film website offers tips for gun owners, like how to safely store their weapons. It also stresses the importance of preventative mental healthcare.

“Most of us agree that we want to make sure that criminals and the mentally ill don’t have access to guns,” said Soechtig.

If anything can be learned from this film, it’s that we all share a common goal in wanting to end the traumatic results of gun violence. We might differ on the best way to achieve this goal, but the conversation doesn’t have to revolve around blame and bias.

Instead, we can talk about addressing our country’s inconsistent policies, asking ourselves why a person on the government terrorism watch list can legally buy a gun, or why there are so many loopholes in the background check process.

Visit Under the Gun’s website to let your voice be heard. Under the Gun premieres on EPIX May 15 at 8 p.m. as part of the EPIX Free Preview. You can watch the premiere on television via participating affiliates or stream it for free on

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