Published May 23, 2013
When music fans think of West Coast rapper Ice-T, Ted Nugent may not be the first name that immediately comes to mind. But that’s who the rapper is teaming up with for a new documentary about the heated gun control debate.
The recently announced film, “Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire,” looks at the background of the Second Amendment.
“'Assaulted’ turns the gun debate around. It is a civil rights issue, and we take a look at the history of the Second Amendment. It’s a right that has been abused over the years and one that gets overlooked the most,” the film’s executive producer, writer and director, Kris Koenig, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “It’s a self-defense right that gets distorted into self-offense. Our civil rights are very precious to us. The reason our country exists is to balance individual rights against the whole. It has kept our country safe.”
Narrated by Ice-T, the film features myriad voices on the topic. Nugent appears along with Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence,as well as UCLA professor and author Adam Winkler. The movie aims to take a critical look at our current gun laws, Koenig explained, and how the concept of people rising up against the government in the U.S. may not be so farfetched.
“When you look at what is happening with the IRS targeting certain groups, or the FBI looking into media phone records, you realize it doesn’t take a lot to push a government into tyranny. I’m not suggesting we are anywhere near that point now, but governments do break down,” Koenig cautioned. “Look at what happened after Hurricane Katrina, or the L.A riots. The government wasn’t there to protect the people, and Koreatown was left as something of a battleground. We see small incidences like this where the government does fail us.”
Koenig insisted that it’s crucial to understand the roots of gun violence, “mostly tied to gangs, drugs and the black market.”
“And you can’t ignore the mental health aspect,” he continued.
The push to ban assault weapons has also sparked dispute in recent months, with many arguing there is no reason for the average American to possess such a weapon, yet this documentary filmmaker begs to differ.
“When dealing with anything to do with our Second Amendment, our lawmakers need to keep in mind that it serves to protect us as individuals... Incidences of violence with an assault weapon are few and far between, less than 1 percent,” Koenig said. “We shouldn’t give up our civil liberties for a false sense of safety.”
And the film’s famed narrator is familiar with being at the center of controversy. He was met with mixed reactions when he stated he does not want more regulations on guns after the movie theater massacre last summer in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead and 70 injured.
“If somebody wants to kill people, they wouldn’t need a gun to do it… You can strap explosives on your body. They do that all the time,” Ice-T told London’s Channel 4. “The right to bear arms is because that’s the last form of defense against tyranny, not to hunt. It’s to protect yourself from the police.”
The rapper was not immediately available for further comment.
But others argue that in the wake of all the deadly shootings, something has to change.
“Our chief concern with ‘Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire’ is its advocacy for ‘Second Amendment remedies’ – the perverted and treasonous idea that there is an individual right under the Second Amendment to threaten and/or initiate violence against government officials when one senses ‘tyranny,’ said Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “The film glorifies those who have employed political violence in the past and makes fraudulent historical claims.”
Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, echoed Everitt’s sentiments.
“Guns kill over 31,000 Americans each year, including eight children every day. Sixty-two percent of these gun deaths are suicides. Each year there are nearly 80,000 gun-related nonfatal injuries, [and] 337,960 violent crimes are committed with guns,” she added. “Two-thirds of domestic violence murders are committed with guns. Do we have a gun violence problem? You bet we do.”
“Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire,” from Dead Patriot films, opens in select theaters June 20.