Try watching a 4-year-old recount the night when his enraged father shot the little boy’s mother and grandfather in front of him. If there’s a stronger word than heartbreaking, it would be apt for that story and for the others told in “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the N.R.A.”
“The N.R.A. creates fear in order to sell more guns and make more money for gun manufacturers,” says one victim of gun violence. That and other arguments in this documentary are backed up with reams of statistics.
We’re told that a majority of Americansand members of the National Rifle Association support modest safety laws, including background checks on all gun purchases. Yet the association and its leadership, which receive millions of dollars from weapons manufacturers, work to block such legislation. Their actions, as detailed here, lead to more gun sales and more corporate profits.
Along with the numbers, Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the association, and the Republican senators Marco Rubio, of Florida, and Ted Cruz, of Texas, are singled out for scorn. Robert Greenwald, the film’s director (a political activist whose documentaries have taken disapproving looks at Wal-Mart, Fox News and others) follows the money, posting lobbying fees and corporate revenue in his indictment.
It’s a lot to take in — sometimes too much information gushes on screen. Still, those names and numbers are only footnotes to the violence detailed here. It’s appalling to hear that in 2013, more than 33,000 people in the United States were killed with guns. But it is horrific to watch a family describe hearing of their young son’s fatal shooting, when he was at a friend’s house where a loaded gun was left unlocked.
“Making a Killing” generates a disgust that can’t be shaken. Gun-rights advocates may offer competing arguments. (The idea of armed self-protection is roundly disputed here.) But, as this film shows, it’s impossible to find comfort in words, statistics or amendments when you pass by your child’s empty bedroom, on your way out to visit his grave.