91% - A Film about Guns in America

2016, Society  -  60 min Leave a Comment
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91% is a tale two tragedies. The initial tragedy lies in the gun-related murders of sons, daughters and others who found themselves on the wrong end of a crazed shooterќs weapon. The second tragedy lies in the warped essence of modern American politics where special interests and incessant inaction rule the day.

The opening moments of the film work to humanize an otherwise incendiary debate. We hear from a mother who witnessed the murder of her daughter at the hands of a mass shooter. In the midst of what was once a picturesque environment in Newton, Connecticut, haunted survivors and bereaved parents speak of the atrocities they endured during the infamous Sandy Hook massacre.

Later in the film, these survivors are joined by a chorus of gun violence prevention advocates, researchers, and NRA members who discuss the challenges and perils associated with passing meaningful gun control legislation. Within this debate, the film sheds light on the gun show loophole, the escalating power of the gun lobby, and the general culture of guns in America.

Predictably, the National Rifle Association (NRA) represents a major talking point in the film. We are told that the organization was once a partner in drafting common sense gun ownership legislation. But the political climate has now changed, and so too has the source of their financing. How else to account for their refusal to listen to the desires of their own membership? According to 2012 survey, 74% of NRA members are in support of universal background checks. And yet, the organization insists that these checks will only result in more government control and taxation.

Few issues rile as much passion and ire as the gun debate. Thereќs little doubt as to which side of this debate the film falls on. Regardless, 91% benefits from its rational and pragmatic tone, and its ambitions to explore multiple facets of this complicated subject. By featuring insights from a diverse array of interview subjects - from the staunchest reform advocates to the most ardent gun owners - it provides a rounded and well-reasoned primer on one of America's most contentious issues.

Directed by: John Richie