Guns in America, a documentary series produced by AJ+ Docs, is an ambitious look at the country's relationship to firearms in the age of relentless fear mongering, domestic and international terrorism, and widespread gun violence. This comprehensive series is divided into six 15-minute segments that each tackle a different angle of the debate.
The first segment, NRA's Trump Card, examines the evolving identity of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its involvement in the mainstream political landscape. The filmmakers charge that the organization, which was originally founded as a non-partisan advocate for the right to bear arms, has fallen hostage to the profit motives of gun manufacturers. In recent years, they've courted sympathetic politicians who have the will and ability to promote their cause. In the last U.S. election, they provided over $30 million dollars to President Trump's campaign, and continue to wield enormous influence over his efforts to dismantle industry regulations.
Episode 2, Weapon of Choice, explores the controversies surrounding the ease of access to assault weapons. In particular, the AR-15 seems to be the weapon of choice for many instigators of mass shootings. The NRA explains the weapon's unhealthy allure to the romanticized portrayal of violence in popular media, but critics cite its unseemly capacity to produce mass casualties.
For some, the rash of school shootings has highlighted a need for more guns on campus. Segment 3, Arming the Classroom, explores whether allowing guns on school property makes sense in curbing incidents of violence.
Perhaps no region of the country is more ravaged by gun violence than Chicago. The fourth harrowing segment of the series, Chicago Under Fire, investigates the gang culture that dominates sections of the city, and the source of the weaponry that continues to flood its neighborhoods.
Can smart guns provide a solution to the epidemic? The next wave of innovative firearms - including those that operate on fingerprint recognition technology - is explored in episode 5, Locked and Coded.
The final segment, Hidden Impact, takes a look at the growing number of law-abiding citizens who choose to carry a concealed weapon in public spaces. Does this trend make us safer, or does it simply pave the way for more senseless violence?
Insightful and provocative, Guns in America provides a thoughtful analysis of one of the country's most contentious issues.