Katie Couric Film Allegedly Broke Serious Federal Law: Gun Advocates Swarm

Katie Couric has already endured her fair share of criticism for the new gun control advocacy documentary Under the Gun.

Along with previous collaborator Stephanie Soechtig, she has been accused of intentionally misleading audiences as to the knowledge of gun advocates in a clip where she was interviewing the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

After asking them a question and inserting eight seconds of silence to allegedly make the group appear dumbfounded, rather than showing the immediate answers they gave, Katie Couric was forced to issue an apology.

Here’s how it went down.

“If there are no background checks for the purchasing of firearms, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” Katie Couric asked.

In the unedited version, the VCDL had plenty of answers and responded without delay; in the Under the Gun version, they appeared clueless.

Couric’s apology pushed some of the blame onto Soechtig, essentially stating that the Yahoo anchor had not approved of the pause in the editing room but didn’t fight hard enough to have it removed.

Soechtig issued an earlier apology stating her intent was to lend dramatic weight so viewers would consider the question.

Pundits on both sides of the political spectrum aren’t buying it.

Mediaite‘s Rachel Stockman, in her defense of Katie Couric, admitted the editing choice was indefensible, but felt the blame ultimately lied with Soechtig.

Her colleague Joe Concha, on the other hand, felt it should be the end of Couric’s career, not buying into the idea that a media personality as powerful as Katie Couric would be unable to stop the edit from happening.

The VCDL, whose damning audio set the record straight, didn’t buy the excuse either, nor have gun advocates throughout the U.S.

In fact, some are now calling for the filmmakers to be prosecuted, according to LawNewz. And the scary thing for Katie Couric is that their push may have some actual legitimacy.

That’s because they’re not focusing on the condemned portion of the film, but on another scene in which Soechtig had “one of her employees” cross state lines and purchase firearms.

Ammoland first pointed out the misstep, using Soechtig’s own words — and a chunk of federal code — against her.

The website remarks that under current federal law, “it is a violation for any person to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in the state in which the transferor resides (18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(5)).”

By asking a private party from Arizona to sell to someone from Colorado — as Soechtig and staff did — the film’s producers “incited an otherwise law abiding citizen to commit a federal crime.”

The website continued.

“It is also unlawful for any person other than a dealer to transport into or receive in the state where they reside any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained outside that State. (18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3).) Violations of these laws can result in a hefty fine and a felony conviction of up to five years. (18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(D).) Further, if two or more persons conspire to commit any offense, and at least one person commits an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, each party to the conspiracy can also face an additional fine and imprisonment for up to five years. (18 U.S.C. § 371.)”

LawNewz and others have reached out to Katie Couric for comment but received nothing in response at this time.

There is no indication that the government will pursue charges against her either, nor is it clear if Katie Couric would be considered “guilty by association,” if true, or if this is strictly Soechtig’s thing to worry about.

But what do you think, readers?

Did Katie Couric and company commit a federal crime, and if so, should they be prosecuted? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons / Joella Marano]

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