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Guns and Mothers cover image

Guns and Mothers 2003


Distributed by First Run/Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Thom Powers, Meema Spadola, & John Walter
Directed by Thom Powers
VHS, color, 53 min.

Jr. High - Adult
Urban Studies, Crime, Sociology

Date Entered: 11/19/2004

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

Mothers & Guns does an excellent job in proposing both sides of the gun control issue from two very diverse and diametrically opposed advocacy groups: The Million Moms and Second Amendment Sisters. The viewer is introduced to Frances Davis, a resident in Brooklyn, New York whose three sons were killed by gun violence. She wants effective gun control that will prevent forever what she has experienced through the loss of her sons. Juxtaposed with her we meet Maria Heil from rural Pennsylvania, a Second Amendment Activist who believes “a gun is a woman’s best tool for self-defense.”

During the year 2000, Thom Powers and his film crew follow both groups as they rally their views from Washington, D.C. to their respective counties. One point come across throughout this documentary: you are either for or against gun control. In the meantime, news reports continue to illustrate the carnage: “Derek Valentin was 17 years old when he got involved in a fight over a girl. He thought it was going to be a fistfight. But when he stepped out of a car at the corner of Barnes and Allerton Avenue in the Bronx on Aug. 8, 2003, someone stepped forward with a gun, and shot him and his friend Charles Simmonds. Derek died instantly; his friend died later at Jacobi Hospital.” The viewer gets to see both sides of a controversial issue plaguing our cities, rural areas and suburbia today. There are no solutions presented other than the constitutional right to bear arms on the one hand and the campaigning to get tougher legislation passed to prevent future gun-related crimes and death on the other. Mothers on both sides are in the forefront of this major battle. Some viewers will definitely feel that students seeing this video will get the idea that the “pro-gun concept” is more attractive as Mrs. Heil makes for a strong and persuasive argument to bear arms and her right to protect her family from harm. Are cities more prone to gun-related deaths than rural or suburbia? The debate continues. In the meantime, death by gunshot continues to make headlines throughout many of our cities across America as Congress, and the States continue to debate on this hotly divided issue. Recommended.