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Parents' Guide to

The Price of Freedom

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Excellent, mature docu unpacks American gun culture.

Movie NR 2021 94 minutes
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Anyone who's baffled about why the U.S. Congress won't pass gun legislation when 88 percent of Americans support it should watch director Judd Ehrlich's superb documentary. He pinpoints when and why the NRA became a political machine rather than an organization to support sports and hunting enthusiasts -- and how most of the organization's members were never in support of the direction it's taken. While calm and balanced, the movie is also eye-opening and has an application reaching far beyond the gun debate. The lessons here extend to strategy and manipulation; they're hard to forget and could potentially be helpful in other situations teens might encounter in life.

Documentaries are rarely balanced journalism. But here Ehrlich gives all sides of the gun-control debate a chance to speak and delivers well-researched facts, statistics, and a rattling reveal embedded toward the beginning of the film. When you're presented with statistics like the fact that the USA has seen an 183 percent increase in mass shootings since the assault weapons ban lapsed in 2004, it's hard to come to any other conclusion than that some kind of gun safety legislation is needed. The NRA's counterargument is that these deaths are collateral damage -- or, as the movie's title says, "the price of freedom." With its even treatment of an emotional topic, the documentary lays out very clearly that guns don't kill people: A lack of policy kills people.

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