"For me, Sandy Hook was a moment where the entire country said 'something has to stop,' " said Couric

By Mollie Cahillane
Updated May 13, 2016 12:50 PM
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Credit: Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

Katie Couric is passionate about putting an end to gun violence.

At the premiere of her new documentary Under the Gun, the long-time journalist told reporters: “I’ve covered these mass shootings for many many, many years. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook. For me, Sandy Hook was a moment where the entire country said, ‘Something has to stop.’ ”

“After nothing got done following Sandy Hook, I just couldn’t understand how 90 percent of the population favored universal background checks, and yet our elected officials couldn’t get that done. And I wanted to understand why, and that’s why I made this film,” she adds.

Under the Gun follows the families impacted by mass shootings in Newton, Aurora, Isla Vista and Tucson, as well as families who experience daily gun violence in Chicago.

“We don’t really question people’s right to buy and own guns,” said Couric, 59. “We leave the Second Amendment as-is. But what we talk about is how can people buy and own guns responsibly. What measures can we put in place? This is not an anti-gun film, it’s an anti-gun violence film. And everybody agrees that violence needs to be reduced.”

The documentary also examines the power of the NRA and the difficulties politicians have in creating legislation.

VIDEO: President Obama Reveals Plans For Executive Orders on Gun Control

Couric also emphasized the importance of recognizing daily gun violence.

“We wanted to make sure that we weren’t just addressing mass shootings,” Couric stated. “We studied the stream of gun violence that happens in cities across America on a daily basis. What I realized is these events and these deaths are often marginalized, minimized and neglected in the media.”

Director and producer Lee Daniels was also in attendance.

“My dad was a cop, and as a kid, I played with his gun,” he said. “I could have easily killed myself. I’ve had friends growing up in the projects die in my arms, three different moments in my life that I distinctly remember from gun violence. I hope Katie drives home the insanity of having guns.”

Under the Gun premieres May 15 at 8 p.m. ET on Epix.