Katie Couric on Gun Film Edit: ‘I Take Responsibility’

By Mark Joyella 

In a statement posted to the website of the documentary film Under the Gun, Katie Couric expresses “regret” over a pause edited into the film that Couric concedes was “misleading.”

Couric, who served as executive producer and narrated the film, says “I take responsibility” for the decision.

The documentary, which premiered online earlier this month, features an interview with members of a Virginia gun rights group. In the film Couric is seen asking “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorist from walking into, say, a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?”


That question appears to be met by eight seconds of silence, though an audio recording of the interview shows the gun rights group’s members immediately provided answers to the question. They called the edit deceptive.

Couric explains:

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.

VCDL members have a right for their answers to be shared and so we have posted a transcript of their responses here. I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.