The trade organization for the firearms industry is asking that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives take a closer look at weapon deals made during the filming of Under the Gun.
The film, starring news personality Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, has been the subject of scorn over editing practices that had led a broad spectrum to deride the documentary and even call for Couric to be fired from her current position with Yahoo News despite a statement from the star regretting the edit.
Soechtig, who stands by her work, spoke with The Lip TV at length in February about the film before its release in which, as first reported by Ammoland, she details how a producer was able to purchase several firearms, including several pistols, in a neighboring state in the parking lot of a Wendy’s.
“We sent a producer out and he was from Colorado. He went to Arizona and was able to buy a Bushmaster and then three other pistols without a background check in a matter of like four hours,” Soechtig said.
Though Soechtig goes on to voice the purchase was legal, both federal law and the ATF frown upon direct handgun sales to those without federal firearms licenses across state lines despite legal challenges.
This latest news from a film that bills itself as unbiased but has partnered with the Brady Campaign, Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Sandy Hook Promise and Americans for Responsible Solutions in both marketing and message, is drawing fire from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association.
“Journalists and filmmakers investigating what they see as shortcomings in laws are not absolved of their responsibility both to gain the requisite understanding of how those laws work and to abide by them,” reads a statement from the NSSF emailed to Guns.com.
“For that reason, based on statements made in a videotaped interview, we have to point out that it would appear that a producer of the Katie Couric documentary ‘Under the Gun’ committed at least four federal felonies, one for each firearm he appears to have illegally purchased since the individual was not a resident of Arizona where he purchased the firearms,” the NSSF continues.
Further, the group contends that if the unnamed producer purchased the guns on Soechtig’s behalf, that he made illegal straw purchases, all of which should be examined.
“The NSSF calls upon the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to open a criminal investigation into this important matter,” the organization says.
Guns.com reached out to Soechtig, Atlas Films and Yahoo News for comment on the latest controversy surrounding the film.
In a statement made to Law Newz, Soechtig defended the production’s actions as legal, holding that Arizona law allows out-of-state residents to buy long guns from a private seller without a background check and residents to do the same for handguns, going on to state the handgun was bought by an Arizona resident, which would seem to conflict with her on camera interview with The Lip TV.
Soechtig advised the guns never left Arizona and were turned over to police.