Director Stephanie Soechtig, collaborator Katie Couric and Epix have issued statements in response to criticism over the way the pro-gun control documentary Under the Gun was edited. The uproar started over a scene in which Couric, who co-produced and narrated the documentary, asks members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, “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?” In the documentary it appears the members were dumbfounded by the question and took eight seconds to come up with a response. However, audio published by a conservative website appears to confirm the opposite — that they answered immediately.
Intense criticism from pro-gun groups followed, and Soechtig now has confirmed in a statement that the pause was a deliberate choice in the editing room. “There are a wide range of views expressed in the film,” she said in a statement today. “My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.” Couric said in a separate statement, “I support Stephanie’s statement and am very proud of the film.”
Epix, which acquired Under the Gun after it bowed at Sundance and premiered it on May 16 , is standing by the documentary and the filmmakers. “Under the Gun is a critically acclaimed documentary that looks at the polarizing and politicized issue of gun violence, a subject that elicits strong reactions from people on both sides,” the network said in a statement. “Epix stands behind Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, and their creative and editorial judgment. We encourage people to watch the film and decide for themselves.”