Gun control has been a consistent fire-brand issue for decades in America, which has always made it ripe as subject matter for documentaries ranging the sociopolitical spectrum. While people of all walks (and sides) are continuing this debate well into our future, with most refusing to capitulate their ideological ground, the very real situation that faces the gun tracers at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives remains a constant struggle. While bogged down by the sheer weight of gun owners in the US, and the inadequate systems that are employed to track down firearms used in violent crimes, David Freid has taken a no-nonsense look at the day-to-day of these federal employees in Guns Found Here.
While the general public is bombarded by constant breaking news of mass shooters in the United States, especially through the past few years, those actually responsible for tracing the source of a firearm and who may exactly be the owner of said weapon, is a supremely daunting and thankless task. While having to sift through millions of paper files overflowing into shipping containers littering their parking lot, the pressure to find the correct information burdens each tracer’s shoulders. Whether relying on incomplete or indecipherable record-keeping of mom-and-pop gun shops or facing down fiery lobbyist rhetoric denying the implementation of a national gun owners database, it is an uphill struggle whichever way the job is observed.
“…the very real situation that faces the gun tracers at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives remains a constant struggle.”
The strength of this brisk documentary short lies heavily in Randall Maxwell’s super-taut and rhythmic editing, maintaining consistent intensity and focus throughout. Each editorial choice exemplifies Freid’s sleek cinematography, with the camera utilized in unusual setups to emphasize underlying oddities of the film’s subject matter. Freid’s position on the subject is surprisingly balanced (and informative), spotlighting the process and challenges undertaken by gun tracers at the ATF with no imposed ethical commentary. We are shown how it is and how it’s done, and that’s what makes the film so well-produced.
Hopefully a stepping stone towards a wider, more educated debate on the issues of firearm violence, Guns Found Here is a crucial albeit brief document.
Guns Found Here (2018) Directed by David Freid.
8 out of 10