HBO Documentary Gunfight: Anti-Gun Sandbag Job

Well, I gave Oscar-winning documentarist Barbara Kopple the benefit of the doubt. After watching Gunfight on HBO, I can state without equivocation that it was a heavily tilted, barely disguised polemic presenting the argument for gun control. In fact, you could call it the Colin [Goddard] and Paul [Helmke] Show . . .

Goddard, the high-cheekboned gun control advocate who survived the Virginia Tech massacre, was clearly the “star” of the doc. His experience opened the film and closed it. And ran all the way through it. The President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence played best supporting crusader; Kopple turned to Paul Helmke for narrative sound bite action no less than ten times.

Sympathetic is just a word. Let’s just say that The Brady Campaign will be using this documentary for fund-raising for years to come, without feeling the slightest need to counter any of the statements made by pro-gun people in the film. Except, of course, to mock them.

That won’t be hard. At all. The pro-gun folks were, as predicted, OFWG (Old Fat White Guys). With the exception of, wait for it, Sarah Palin. But we did get to hear the immortal line (so to speak) “Jesus Christ supported the right to carry.”

If Koppel was going for “balance,” introducing the pro-gun side of the program with a movie montage edited to portray gun enthusiasm as a homo-erotic phallocentric fetish (e.g., Chuck Connors rapid-firing his rifle from crotch level) wasn’t going to get it done.

Nor was giving airtime to an academic’s (later) claim that the OFWG gun owners (representing the NRA) were angry about blacks and immigrants taking their country away from them, which gave birth to an insurrectionist Second Amendment movement, which unleashed Timothy McVeigh on the world. See? There’s the building. And McVeigh wanted to stop the ATF, with an office inside, from grabbing his gun.

Kopple’s use of news footage was, perhaps, her most blatantly biased technique. While we did get news clips of the Supreme Court gun rights rulings, Koppel sampled the media again and again to express the inexpressible (her bias against gun ownership). The threat of an armed militia MUST be real: Newsweek had it on the cover! Fox News, always good for a laugh, was notable by its absence.

As predicted, the man tapped to give the film its “objectivity,” Richie Feldman, was mostly used to kick the NRA in the balls. Which the former NRA lobbyist did, but good. While I agree that the NRA is a fear-mongering fund-raising machine, set in the context of Gunfight, I found myself cheering for Wayne LaPierre. Note to new readers: that’s not something I do very often.

Other than that, your five-minute takeaway: Kopple put the “gunshow loophole” squarely in her sights. She allowed a blatant falsehood to underpin her fascination. Some smooth-talking guy said “It’s no secret how guns get in the hands of criminals . . . The gun show loophole is another very common way.” Uh, no. Less than three percent of firearms used in crimes are purchased at gun shows.

Facts schmacts. For me, the film’s highlight was a visit with two inner city gang bangers. The masked men displayed their “jawns” without a HINT of muzzle discipline. At the end of the tour, one of them seemed to be scratching his Johnson with the business end of a .22, as he talked about where his survivors planned to put his Darwin Award. Or something like that.

I reckon I deserve an award for sitting through this rubbish. Not that I expected any more from Koppel. The fact that she only made a half-assed attempt to hide her obvious anti-gun leanings speaks volumes about the elitism that infuses the gun control movement. Which is a blessing, I suppose.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

22 Responses to HBO Documentary Gunfight: Anti-Gun Sandbag Job

  1. avatar-Hoff says:

    I can’t wait to see this. Sounds like something that’d get the blood boiling fast.

    • avatarreconmarine says:

      1) They show people using guns illegally and then blame people who use guns legally.
      2) The cats out of the bag. There are hundreds of millions of guns in the US. If ban them, then the good guys will abide by the law and the bad guys will not, leaving them with guns and us without them…

      3) In this joke of a documentary they arm students with guns and have them try to return fire when a shooter comes in. An untrained kid with a big white t shirt covering his gun can’t get it out in time while a trained gunmen comes in shooting….If I was in that class, just like most veterans, we would return fire and would stop them from continue their killing spree.

      4) Drugs are illegal in the US yet hundreds of thousands are killed every year. Guns are illegal in Mexico and there were 47,00 gun deaths there in 2010.

      There is a reason why people don’t commit crimes out in the country…….Country folks are more likely to be armed…..and THAT deters crime…

  2. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    These no good commies should all be sent to a prison camp in Siberia.

  3. avataronbe says:

    Yes -HBO advertised as a “gun debate” however there was no debating. Purely leftist and outdated facts.The theme other then obvious calls for gun control was the “gun show loophole” which they lumped in Loughner and the Virgina Tec shooters( which neither one used). Stay vigilant the left will stop at no boundary to take your firearms.This may have been one more piece of operation fast n furious.

    • avatarWes says:

      I was about to say HBO should air a Penn and Teller gun documentary right after this, even if it’s just the “Bullshit” episode they did on it, but then I remembered Penn and Teller’s show is on Showtime, which is clearly a better network.

      P&T’s BS gun episode can be watched on Youtube, btw. It includes Jackie Mason giving the great quote: “Anybody that is in favor of gun control is a f’ing moron.”

  4. avatarLeo Atrox says:

    “Jesus Christ supported the right to carry.”

    Well, in fairness, He did:

    Then said he to them, But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his sack: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (Luke 22:36)

    Jesus was preparing His disciples for their journeys into the wilderness where they might encounter bandits and beasts during their travels, and it was customary to carry a sword–the common weapon of the time–for self-defense. Today, we still must be concerned about bandits and beasts (generally, one more than the other depending on where each of us is) during our travels and even at home, and we would do well to be similarly prepared with contemporary arms.

  5. avatarBill says:

    Thank – you, Robert , for taking the time and enduring the pain of watching this propaganda. I couldn’t do it, I knew anything from Koppel and HBO would be nothing but lies, propaganda and a clear slant to the civilian disarmament crowd. You confirmed my suspicions.

  6. avatarwillford says:

    @ Bill, I think the same as you. If, it comes from those turds IT IS UNADULTERED BULLSHIT!

  7. avatartaurus609 says:

    Well said Robert, I to sat through most of the Colin and Paul show, and in disgust had to turn away. All of those on the anti-gun side were portrayed as well meaning, “we just want sensible gun laws to stop the violence” folks, in their suits and ties, and those on the pro gun side, well we were all kooks, and racist wearing our bib overalls (camouflaged of course), wanting to overthrow our government. I would imagine that if Ms Kopple had really done her homework, and interviewed the vast majority of gun owners, she would have found an overwhelming cross section of America. Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarians, Atheist, Christians, Gays, you name it. But that would not have helped her agenda, or Colin’s and Paul’s, they were out for blood, and passed off a documentary as fair and balanced, but was anything but. In their “documentary” they portrayed all gun owners as hicks, far right, christian, white (except for the gang bangers, that was a nice touch), government haters. And couldn’t be farther from the truth, but as I said, truth was not what they were looking for.

    And as the old saying goes “yesterday over 90 million American gun owners did nothing illegal” Guess Ms Kopple never heard that one!

  8. avatarhomobangbangamus says:

    HBO is anti-gun. Always has been. It’s done this before and will do it again. They also support anything and everything far left of center. Who would have figured that? I would have because my litmus test has always been gun control. If they weasel word at all they are one of two things, a standard lying politician or a dyed in the wool Marxist/Democrat. If they are associated with Democrats, the former my be assumed with safety because that has been THEIR litmus test, for years.

    Since propaganda and indoctrination must be conducted and truthful information suppressed, it simply makes sense that the information and “entertainment” brokers would produce this type of dis-information. The only difference now is that they feel very comfortable in doing so because they now believe, that they cannot be stopped and that the country will now fall right into their hands.

  9. avatarbig mike says:

    I watched this load of ^$@! last night. Awesome. The numbers were from the brady bunch and vpc. Nothing like checking your sources/numbers before throwing them out there. It was a total load. The only thing missing was a redneck holding an Uzi while stomping a puppy…

    • avatarBob H says:

      I told them I wouldn’t appear on camera, and it was a sons of guns lunchbox gun. Oh yeah, it had both an assault clip AND a shoulder thing that goes up.

    • avatarBob H says:

      Oh yeah, it had both an assault clip AND a shoulder thing that goes up.

  10. avatarBarry M says:

    Classic, typical liberal anti-2A drivel…. it hit all the typical talking points (oh, the kids…the gun show ‘loophole’…as well as all the inaccurate/exaggerated Brady Bunch statistics), with just a token attempt at showing the opposite (pro-2A) argument. Propaganda at best, and keeping in line with HBO’s left turn over the last 10 years.

    Anyone take note of the ‘bait and switch’ and deceptive editing used throughout the show? A couple examples..

    - Hidden camera interview at a VA gun show showing a wall display of full auto guns, followed by a legal purchase (private party sale) of a semi-auto AKS-74…implying that this was a legal purchase of a full auto assault weapon requiring no background checks or ATF application/tax stamp (etc)…

    - An anti-gun doctor who now gives presentations on gun violence and ‘easy availability of illegal guns’, making a big and ominous point of leaving his will in an easy to find location before every public appearance – because, you never know, those insanely violent gun people might take offense…

    There were probably more examples but I used the fast-forward button too many times in the last half to be sure.

  11. avatarArthur says:

    I like how Colin Goddard said that he was going to turn in his recently purchased “AK-47″ (which the seller clearly told him was an AK 74) to the police as soon as he test fired it.
    The writer of this article is 100% correct. I feel like I should have gotten an award for sitting through this biased piece of crap.

  12. avatarMike F. says:

    The whole so called “Documentary” was completely one sided, and did not show even one instance in which a gun was used in self-defense or prevent a crime. People need to check out http://www.gunfacts.info for a real documentary.

  13. avatarRuffRidr says:

    HBO must not think very much of this documentary. Already I am not seeing adverts for it on their channel. Also, the HBO Go iPad app has come out today. “Gun Fight” is nowhere to be found on it.

  14. avatarTimothy says:

    I am a pro gun person, I do feel that the gun show loopholes should be changed.I also feel that Elected officials should start putting criminals to death right away when they are convicted of a deadly crime no matter what the choice of weapon. Any human who knows that they will be put to death “right away” for taking a life will think twice about this action. There is no excuse for taking a persons life unless it’s your life being threatened. I’m not saying your choice of battles is wrong but if you would put more time in to fighting our current policies on prisoner releases and feeding killers in prisons with tax payers money you would see a drastic reduction in violent crimes in the US. People kill people, the method is never going to change but the consequenses for doing so should!

  15. avatarigotgunsdareyoutotakethem says:

    i watched it,and ya its like 55 mins of pure anti-gun anti-american bullshit and maybe 5 mins of facts if you squint and look side ways.

    if the crooks and criminals in power want my guns,i would say they can pry them from my cold dead hands…but since they dont have the fire power i got good luck with that.
    and the militia’s= true patriots with out them we would still be a colony.
    way things getting seems im gonna have to join one.

  16. avatarJames says:

    I just finished watching this propaganda. I must say I fast-forwarded through most of it. Especially the news clips and the victim society play. Your article sums up my feeling about this gun-control commercial. Yet I’m not an OFWG nor a WG but a mere proud Citizen.
    If I didn’t know I’d say Michael Moore produced this crap.
    The only thing I learned from this show is that I need to join a gun ownership rights movements. BTW any advice on a good organization? I know many were mentioned in the film.

  17. avatarJames says:

    Two more things I’d like to add:
    1. The liberal program 20/20 deduced from its experiment with the armed students who were supposed to protect themselves from an armed attacker that the inexperienced student who could not pull his gun out did so because he was too frightened and hence even if we allow concealed-carry it wouldn’t help according to the dishonest narrator. These guys expect a brainless audience to be in front of tv. First they focused on only the one student, repeating the scene over and over and second how come they state he is too frightened while this was a staged exercise and all students are wearing protective gears waiting for the action to begin.

    2. How come it’s the gun shows’ fault that people are being killed in Philly, Chicago and DC???? When the film makers went to the slums and talked to heavily armed criminals they were told, quote: “we all get our weapons from the STREETS” NOT from gunshows, not from dealers, but from the STREETS.

    This is again a propaganda film to support the passage of H.R. 591.

  18. avatarJames says:

    HBO carries the pathetic anti-gun standard with Bryant Gumble’s Kids and Guns. The show tries to tie American civil rights to soliciting guns to children. I learned to shoot as a child under the supervision of my father. These are some of my most fond memory and HBO tries to say this irresponsible and would like it to be illegal.

    So one has to ask what kind of network makes the decision to attack the US Constitution with misguided attempts to villainize American rights, heritage, and freedom of choice. It’s difficult to think how this propaganda gets approved and distributed but for the anti-gun media being in bed with those who seek to assault citizen rights. Congrats for siding with the enemy of the people HBO.

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