Director Robert Greenwald takes on the NRA in documentary

Long-time documentary director Robert Greenwald, who covered war in Afghanistan and drone violence in Pakistan, thought he’d seen it all — until he took on the NRA.

Greenwald, whose “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA” premieres Wednesday in New York, said dealing with weapons violence in his home country was by far the most disturbing thing he’d ever encountered.

“Wars are brutal, but there’s kind of a context to them,” he said. “This is so widespread. It could be anyone. It’s been almost two years and it’s haunting me.”

The movie investigates the financial ties between the National Rifle Association and the gun industry, and traces the group’s humble roots as a coalition of backwoods hunters to its current role as chief cheerleader for the $12 billion industry.

Phillip Massey/FilmMagic

Greenwald, whose “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA” premieres Wednesday in New York, said dealing with weapons violence in his home country was by far the most disturbing thing he’d ever encountered.

Greenwald delves into the issue by both combing through documents — including highlighting seven-figure checks that gun companies have paid out to the NRA — and talking to victims of gun violence.

Among the sad stories:

*Mike and Maura Lewiecki, whose 27-year-old son abruptly committed suicide with a gun he purchased hours earlier after a brief illness.

* Pamela Montgomery-Bosley, a Chicago woman whose teen son was hit by a stray bullet while in a church parking lot waiting for choir practice to begin.

* And Kate Ranta, who survived being shot twice — along with her father — by the abusive ex-husband she was trying to leave. Her then-4-year old son witnessed the violence.

But the story that hit Greenwald, a father of four, the hardest was that of Sandy Aponte, a Washington state mother whose 13-year-old son was killed by a friend who was horsing around with a loaded shotgun in another child’s house.

The loaded gun had been left behind a bed by the child’s stepfather, but he was never held accountable.

Brave New Films

The movie investigates the financial ties between the National Rifle Association and the gun industry.

“If her son had fallen on a stoop, if a door had hit him, there would have been consequences,” said Greenwald.

Aponte has since become an activist in her state for so-called “lock ’em up” laws, which require stricter accountability for gun owners.

She told The News that she is still raw from her son’s death two years ago, but that she didn’t hesitate when asked to take part in the film.

Brave New Films

Greenwald delves into the issue by both combing through documents and talking to victims of gun violence.

“I told him whatever I need to do,” she said.

“It’s not about me anymore, it’s not about my pain. It’s about what we can do to help prevent this from happening again, and help save kids.”

The film will be shown for free in diverse spots like church basements and colleges, and later online on Facebook and YouTube.

Greenwald hopes one million people will watch it before Labor Day.

Tags: nra , gun violence


Originally published at www.nydailynews.com.