96 mins | United States | 2021
Director: Judd Ehrlich
Editors: Leah Goudsmit, Max Powers, Albin Pepe
Cinematographer: Peter Eliot Buntaine
Composer: Khari Mateen
Producers: Judd Ehrlich, Aidan Tumas, Elena Gaby
Cast: Rep. Gabby Giffords, Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. Lucy McBath, President Bill Clinton, David Keene, Fred Guttenberg, Nicole Hockley, X González
“We’re to Davids to the Goliath of the NRA gun lobby leadership.”
One of the most pressing issues facing Americans today is gun violence. This documentary features Rep. Lucy McBath (GA) who lost her son, Jordan Russell Davis, in Florida, as well as many other parents and students who have been affected by tragedy after tragedy. The documentary covers the NRA’s evolution: they supported the gun control act of 1968, but retaliated against President Bill Clinton when he banned assault weapons in 1994. The NRA organized politically: Democrats lost 54 members of the House and the Speaker of the House was voted out (which hadn’t been done since the time of Lincoln). The NRA was only willing to limit gun rights based on racial inequity. They helped to draft the Mulford Act, an anti-open-carry law in California meant to disarm members of the Black Panther Party. They played a key role in passing Stand Your Ground laws in 33 states, which only saw the increase of gun-related thefts and crimes in those states.
However, only a small amount of progress has been made compared to the damage the NRA has done. Even conservative Supreme Court Justice Scalia talked about placing limitations on the Second Amendment and Robert Spitzer noted the thousands of gun laws that were enacted in the 1800s which differed from state to state. However, the NRA literally has their members freaking out over any talks of reform; spokesperson Wayne La Pierre indoctrinated members into thinking it was a “slippery slope”: that any kind of gun control would lead to losing all gun rights. I know firsthand how this kind of rationale has affected people; about four or five years ago, I was telling my friend that we needed gun reform. Instead of listening or behaving rationally, he acted like I wanted to ban all guns. While I am not personally a fan of guns, I would never want to inhibit any other person’s right to carry if they were able to pass a background check and license the gun properly.
The scary thing is that according to the documentary, gun owners are often single issues voters. The danger is in protecting gun “rights” at all costs; “rights” even the Founding Fathers did not imagine due to how insanely things have spun out of control. Because the NRA has abused their right as an organization, this has led to at least 60 corporations cutting ties with them and companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart developing no-brainer policies like selling guns to people 21 and over and not selling any high capacity magazines.
However, there is so much more work to be done. As Parkland activist X González said, “Gun violence…should be treated like an epidemic.” We must continue fighting for gun reform and the protection of our children, and really, citizens in general, as 39K Americans die from gun violence each year. Finally, the documentary invites the audience to get involved at ThePriceofFreedomMovie.com.
Tribeca Studios and Flatbush Pictures partnership
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Article was written by Allison McCulloch. Follow her Twitter.