Under the Gun
By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Emotional gun control docu addresses complex issue.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Supports responsible gun use and open communication.
Positive Role Models
NRA members and extreme pro-gun folks (including legislators) aren't viewed/presented favorably.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of discussions about shooting deaths, loss of children, loved ones. Brief references to seeing shots to the head, post-shooting wounds. Archived news footage of police response to mass shootings (though no actual bloody images). Threats; including crude ones related to sexual violence.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"Ass," "bitch," "f--k," rude gestures.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Substance abuse briefly referenced.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Under the Gun is a Katie Couric-narrated documentary that argues for the need for comprehensive gun control legislation. It contains archival news footage of post-assassination attempts, mass shootings, and other related events. There's also some cursing (including "f--k"), and references to crude threats of sexual violence. Many of the conversations featured here aren't easy, and some viewers may find the images and descriptions of events disturbing. The filmmakers have also admitted to some potentially biased editing choices, which may or may not color viewers' experience of the film.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Under the Gun
Based on 3 parent reviews
Great Insight into 'Common Sense' Gun Legistlation
Report this review
Sorry this website has become political
Report this review
What's the Story?
From the creators of Fed Up, UNDER THE GUN is a documentary that takes the position that the United States has failed to address gun violence in a meaningful way. Narrated by Katie Couric, it uses archival news footage to look at gun-related violence in national headlines over the years, examining the reactions of American citizens and the U.S. government as a result. Through interviews with parents who lost their children to shooters in Sandy Hook, Aurora, Santa Cruz, and on the streets of Chicago, it highlights some of the grassroots efforts being made to limit gun sales and curb violence. The efforts of Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- who survived a gun assassination attempt in 2011 -- to actively support legislators fighting for gun control, is also documented. Conversations with a range of experts and policymakers help deconstruct the roles of lobbying groups, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), and explain gun legislation, policy loopholes, and issues within the government that contribute to the situation.
Is It Any Good?
This decidedly pro-gun control documentary offers an in-depth, emotionally charged look at the very complex issue of gun violence. It uses the tragic stories of some of the country's most notorious assassinations and mass shootings as a platform to examine (and, from its perspective, ideally dispel) concerns about gun legislation, especially background checks for gun purchasers. It also seeks to drive home the research and statistics that the filmmakers posit support the need for these rules. While government agencies' apparent inability to enforce these policies is addressed, it's the political power of the NRA -- and its efforts to pressure Congress to eliminate any and all restrictions on gun acquisition and ownership -- that's a central theme throughout most of the film's conversations.
In an attempt to move away from the polarizing, never-ending conversations about 2nd Amendment rights, the film calls for a willingness to take a harder look at the reasons why people engage in violent gun behavior, while moving away from conversations about crime and the stigmatization of some communities. But it's the stories of those who've lost loved ones, and some of the chilling footage shown from these and subsequent events, that are the most powerful. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, there's no doubt that Under the Gun will leave you feeling sad, and possibly very angry.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the gun control debate in the United States. How much impact does violence shown in the media have on the way Americans think about guns and gun control?
Are documentaries supposed to take a position or remain unbiased? Why or why not?
Do you have to agree with a movie's point of view to enjoy it?
- In theaters: May 13, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: May 31, 2016
- Cast: Katie Couric
- Director: Stephanie Soechtig
- Studio: Epix
- Genre: Documentary
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong language including a crude reference
- Last updated: February 23, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Movies That Inspire Empathy
Movies That Promote Communication
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate