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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Presbyterian film exploring gun violence is now on Amazon Prime


Intended as a resource for churches, ‘Trigger’ looks at gun violence from victims to causes

October 30, 2019

David Barnhart, shown speaking to members of the Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee in Flint, Michigan, directed the documentary “Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence,” which is now available on Amazon Prime. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence,” produced by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s Story Productions, is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

“This is new ground for the church,” director David Barnhart said.

“Over the years I have seen how this film has moved people to action and led to the formation of community coalitions, grassroots initiatives and film forums. We have had festival screenings and network broadcasts in the past, but Amazon Prime is a platform that has so much potential and outreach. I hope the connectional church will support ‘Trigger’ and share this resource even further.”

“Trigger” looks at gun violence as a public health crisis and is intended as a resource for churches and communities.

The documentary shows gun violence from the perspective of victims, survivors and their loved ones. The film explores efforts to combat the problem from protests to organizations such as The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence to university-based research programs.

The episodes of gun violence portrayed vary from mass shootings, such as the April 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, to individual attacks in urban and suburban areas. The impact ranges from a mother who lost her only daughter when she was a teenager to the effects of media coverage of gun violence across culture. At one point the film looks at a neighborhood where children don’t play outside because they and their families are afraid of gun violence.

“Trigger” also delivers some eye-popping statistics such as less than 1% of the gun dealers in the country account for 60% of the guns used in crimes. It suggests that a lot of gun violence could be stopped with changes to laws that make it easy for criminals to get guns.

Click here to contribute to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s work responding to public violence.

“These stories and voices need to be heard and we have an incredible opportunity with this platform on Amazon Prime,” Barnhart says. “ ‘Trigger’ reveals the humanity that is at the heart of this epidemic of gun violence and that is so needed right now.”

The documentary was initially seen as broadcasts on NBC affiliates around the country in 2012 while “Trigger” was still in production. The final version came out in 2017 and was shown at festivals and venues such as the Martin Luther King Jr. D.R.E.A.M. Film Series.

“Trigger” is one of numerous films from Story Productions, including “Locked in a Box” and “To Breathe Free,” which explore immigration issues; “Tapestry,” which looks at the impact of violence in a community; and “Kepulihan,” which is about the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia. In addition to being informative, engaging documentary filmmaking, the films are intended to be resources for churches, church groups and others who want to explore the issues they cover.

“Our films attempt to reveal the humanity that is at the heart of these relevant and timely issues,” Barnhart said. “One of the things that we’ve found is that when you really go into that space to listen and open yourself up to the process and get at the heart of issues, what you discover is the humanity.”

Flint: The Poisoning of an American City,” the latest project from Barnhart and Story Productions, had its public premiere at the Capitol Theatre in Flint, Michigan, on Sept. 12.

Rich Copley, Mission Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus:  Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence Video

Let us join in prayer for: 

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Nicholas Johnson, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Sandy Johnson, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)

Let us pray:

Dear God, we thank you for leading us to love you in deed, truth and action. Help us to stem the flow of guns to those who should not have them. Help all people who love you to join together to heed your call to end gun violence. Amen.