The documentary came under scrutiny when it first seemed like a group of gun rights activists were stumped by her question about background checks, taking eight seconds to respond: “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?”
Audio recordings revealed they, in fact, responded right away.
In a statement posted on the “Under the Gun” documentary’s website, Couric took responsibility and expressed regret for the editing process.
“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),” she wrote. “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….I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.”
Couric also posted a message on Twitter, saying, “After speaking with Under the Gun director and reviewing editing process, I wanted to respond.”
The website also posted a full transcript of Couric’s exchange with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL).
Couric had originally expressed support of Soechtig, saying, “I am very proud of the film.”
When the criticism first surfaced, Soechtig issued a statement saying, “There are a wide range of views expressed in the film. 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.”