Katie Couric, 'Under the Gun' Filmmaker React to Editing Controversy

Under the Gun still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Pro-gun blog posts, crying foul over a heavy pause, prompt a reaction from the duo and Epix.

Katie Couric and Stephanie Soechtig are speaking out about the considerable amount of heat they've gotten from the gun lobby since Epix premiered their latest documentary collaboration, Under the Gun.

The feature, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, focuses on the effects of gun violence in the U.S. — and while the term "gun control" is deliberately avoided, it does not have a particularly pro-gun narrative. That's why several groups, including the National Rifle Association, have cried foul over a controversial edit where several documentary subjects appear stumped by a question.

"If there are no background checks for gun purchasers," Couric asked members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, "how do you prevent felons or terrorists from walking into, say, a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?"

The film depicts an eight-second pause before they respond, but the group contends they were not as stumped as the edit implied. That fact was picked up by several blogs earlier this week when one, Ammoland, acquired unedited audio.

“There are a wide range of views expressed in the film," Soechtig, the doc's director, said Wednesday in a statement. "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, who narrated and served as executive producer, offered the following: "I support Stephanie's statement and am very proud of the film."

Epix, which premiered the doc on May 16, also issued a statement supporting both Couric and Soechtig: "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. 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."