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Couric’s “Under The Gun” Is “Under The Gun,” Again.

Under-the-GunIn a post a few weeks ago, we wrote about how the “documentary” produced by Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig was less than honest in the editing of an interview with the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League (VCDL). In the movie “Under the Gun,” the members of the VCDL seemed to be confused as to the question that Couric asks of the members of the VCDL when in fact they had answers which stumped and confused Couric.

Couric initially declined to apologize and said the edit making the VLDL’s people was there for dramatic effect. (After all, nothing says “drama” in a documentary like deception.) Couric has now issued an “apology,” but the “apology” shows the depth of the deception as well.

As Executive Producer of “Under the Gun,” a documentary film that explores the epidemic of gun violence, I take responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL). My question to

the VCDL regarding the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun, was followed by an extended pause, making the participants appear to be speechless.

When I screened an early version of the film with the director, Stephanie Soechtig, I questioned her and the editor about the pause and was told that a “beat” was added for, as she described it, “dramatic effect,” to give the audience a moment to consider the question. When VCDL members recently pointed out that they had in fact immediately answered this question, I went back and reviewed it and agree that those eight seconds do not accurately represent their response.

VCDL members have a right for their answers to be shared and so we have posted a transcript of their responses here. I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.

I hope we can continue to have an important conversation about reducing gun deaths in America, a goal I believe we can all agree on.

Transcript with VCDL Response:

KATIE: If there are no background checks, how do you prevent … I know how you all are going to answer this, but I’m asking anyway. If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from walking into, say a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?

MALE: Well, one, if you’re not in jail then you should still have your basic rights and you should go buy a gun.

KATIE: So, if you’re a terrorist or a felon …

MALE: If you’re a felon and you’ve done your time, you should have your rights.

MALE: The fact is we do have statutes, both at the federal and state level that prohibit classes of people from being in possession of firearms. If you’re under 18 in Virginia you can’t walk around with a gun. If you’re an illegal immigrant, if you’re a convicted felon, if you’ve been adjudicated in same, these things are already illegal. So, what we’re really asking about is a question of prior restraint. How can we prevent future crime by identifying bad guys before they do anything bad? And, the simple answer is you can’t.

And, particularly, under the legal system we have in the United States there are a lot of Supreme Court opinions that say, “No, prior restraint is something that the government does not have the authority to do.” Until there is an overt act that allows us to say, “That’s a bad guy,” then you can’t punish him.

FEMALE: I would take another outlook on this. First, I’ll ask you what crime or what law has ever stopped a crime? Tell me one law that has ever stopped a crime from happening.

Couric ends the transcript because the movie cuts away from the VCDL members. What she doesn’t show or seem to care about is the members of the VCDL pick up on the theme following the womam’s question and point to Couric of “First, I’ll ask you what crime or what law has ever stopped a crime? Tell me one law that has ever stopped a crime from happening.”

Here is the audio (no video) of the interview recorded by the VCDL with the woman’s question beginning at the 1:28 mark:

Couric comes off as being woefully ignorant and mentally challenged in the exchange. It is as if she had never had someone question her views on the subject of gun control and almost expected people to bow down to her greatness. Instead, the VCDL exposes her for a Second Amendment lightweight.

Couric’s anti-gun stances got exposed by the VCDL and Couric and Soechtig could not allow that to be seen in the final cut.

But now something else has come out about the film. There are charges that the producer and or an underling may have broken the law.

In an interview, Soechtig says a she sent a resident of Colorado to Arizona where the person bought a Bushmaster from a person in the parking lot of a Wendy’s.

SOECHTIG: We sent a producer out and he was from Colorado. He went to Arizona, and he was able to buy a Bushmaster and then three other pistols without a background check in a matter of four hours. And that’s perfectly legal. He wasn’t doing some sort of underground market.

[..]

And he just met someone in the parking lot of Wendy’s and bought a Bushmaster. Legally. Like, this is legal.

Sean Davis at the Federalist breaks it down:

Except it’s not legal. Like, it’s illegal. Super duper illegal. Quadruple illegal in the case of the Soechtig employee who purchased four firearms across state lines without processing the sale through a federal firearms licensee (FFL) in his home state of Colorado.

Federal law is abundantly clear on what types of transactions require federal background checks. Gun owners tend to understand these laws incredibly well. Gun controllers like Soechtig do not. Under federal law, all gun purchases from an FFL must be accompanied by a federal background check. It doesn’t matter if the FFL sells a gun at a retail location, at a gun show, or out of the back of a car in a Wendy’s parking lot. All FFL transactions require a federal background check. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from: if you buy a gun from an FFL, the FFL must confirm that you have passed a federal background check.

Next we have interstate purchases, all of which must be conducted through an FFL in the buyer’s home state. It is illegal to purchase a gun across state lines unless the transaction is processed through an FFL in the buyer’s home state. And what did we just learn about all FFL purchases? That they require federal background checks. Ergo, all interstate purchases must be accompanied by federal background checks.

As the producer and the seller did not comply with the law, they both are criminals in our minds.

Once again, we see how laws do not stop people from illegally obtaining weapons.

Soechtig issued a statement that shows her lack of understanding of the law:

While it may seem hard to believe that one could buy these types of guns this easily, all purchases in the film were made completely legally. Arizona law allows out-of-state residents to buy long guns (i.e. rifles, shotguns, military style assault rifles) from a private seller without a background check. It also allows Arizona residents to buy handguns from a private seller without a background check.

We demonstrated both versions of this dangerous loophole in the film on a hidden camera, in full compliance with both state and federal laws. The rifles – including an AR-15, the gun used to massacre 20 first graders – were purchased by an out of state resident. The handgun was purchased by an Arizona resident.

These guns were then turned over to law enforcement and destroyed. They never left the state of Arizona.

The Arizona law dealing with out of state purchases doesn’t list a background check as being required. What it does list is that the out of state purchaser must comply with all laws and regulations of the buyer’s home state and all Federal laws and regulations.

It is the Federal laws and regulations that require a background check for any interstate purchase of guns and that the purchase must go through a licensed firearm dealer. In order to be from out of state and purchase a gun in Arizona, you must have a background check performed. Period. The regulation applies to dealer sales and private sales.

The bottom line here is that Couric and Soechtig were not out to do a fair and balanced piece. The tag line of the movie states “In the Gun Debate, Truth is the Ultimate Weapon.”

If that is the case, then why did Couric and Soechtig have to make deceptive cuts in the film? Why when the cameras record an actual debate and discussion that shows Couric’s lack of mental acumen is that part cut out?

Why, if you want to talk about a lack of gun laws, do you show a transaction that breaks current laws?

Couric and Soechtig were not out to examine facts. They came into the project with a preconceived notion of doing a hit piece and labeling it as a “documentary” and “truth.”

The only truth so far is that Couric and Soechtig are liars and law breakers.



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