On Wednesday President Obama signed 23 gun control executive actions and urged Congress to pass additional changes and fund research related to gun violence.
His proposals include universal background checks for every gun sale and bans on military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The president also asked legislators to confirm B. Todd Jones as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Congress hasn't confirmed a director for the agency in six years.
A day earlier the NRA released a controversial ad focusing on President Obama's daughters. Anderson Cooper reports on the president's plan to reduce gun violence, and reaction to the ad.
When the computers crash, Andrew Kozak, a meteorologist in Tulsa, goes old school with one of the coolest weather forecasts we've ever seen.
It was a hot Sunday morning last July when, right on schedule at 6:30 a.m., 61-year-old Johnny Lee Butts left his rural Mississippi home on his morning ritual, a 4-mile walk.
His neighbor, Otis Brooks, says Butts, a Sunday school teacher, waved as he passed his front door wearing a blue T-shirt.
Brooks remembers that his neighbor's skin tone was easily visible that morning. "You could tell he was black; you could see his arms." The point would become important later.
At nearly 7 a.m., about an hour after sunrise, three white teenagers were barreling down Panola County Mississippi Highway 310 in a white Monte Carlo. Two of the three teens later admitted they had been heavily drinking vodka and smoking marijuana all night. They were headed right toward Butts.
Former CIA Officer Bob Baer and CNN's Jill Dougherty report where extremists took American hostages in Algeria and why.
David Gergen, Charles Blow and Margaret Hoover discuss the politics and strategy of Pres. Obama's gun control proposals.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o says he's the victim of an elaborate hoax. The bizarre revelation that Te'o's girlfriend never existed was first reported by Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey for Deadspin.com. Anderson Cooper spoke with Burke and David Haugh, a sports columnist with the Chicago Tribune.
Te'o, a Heisman candidate, had a personal story that elicited sympathy and made his accomplishments on the field seem even more impressive, considering the enormous loss he was supposedly experiencing.
The story goes that in September, in the span of just six hours, he learned that both his grandmother and girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, had died. In a game days later, he made 12 tackles and led his team to a 20-3 upset over Michigan State.
Reporter's Note: President Obama has unveiled his plans for more restrictions on who can get guns and under what circumstances. I have unveiled my latest letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
So I saw you signing those new provisions to tighten up on existing gun laws, and proposing even more if Congress will join your effort; new restrictions on assault weapons, the size of clips, and more extensive use of background checks.
Considering the terrible shootings we’ve seen lately in Connecticut, Colorado, and elsewhere, I’m sure a great many Americans are happy to see anything happening on this front. On the other hand, as best I can read the polls, not many people have much faith that new gun controls alone will make much difference.
I know, I know, that the gun lobby has been railing about that very idea for some days now, suggesting that an effort aimed purely at guns is punitive and will be ineffective. I don’t mean to buy into their line, but then again I’m just telling you what the polls suggest: Many of our fellow citizens, while willing to consider new gun controls, really do want to see a much more comprehensive approach to tamping down violence.
Certainly it is a complicated issue. There are indeed a lot of guns in our country, but we’ve had a lot of guns for a long time. There are guns that look very menacing and have the capability of releasing a stream of shots very quickly, but we’ve had versions of that for a long time too. And there is a lot of violence in our movies and games, but we’ve had that for some time as well…maybe not in precisely the same form, but there nonetheless.
I think the key lies in figuring out what has changed. What is different about our culture? What alchemy has occurred between our guns, our society, our behavior, our demographics, our economy, and our health care? What tipped us over the edge so that massacres of innocent people became commonplace?
Those are not easy questions, I know, but I don’t suppose solving the riddle of how to stop gun violence will be easy either. And whatever you accomplished today…at very best…is likely to be just a start.
Hope all is well.
61-year-old Johnny Lee Butts enjoyed his morning ritual, a four mile walk in Panola County, Mississippi. But this past July, Butts, an African-American, was killed during this walk by a white teenager behind the wheel of a car. Law enforcement insists race was not a factor. But Keeping Them Honest, exclusive reporting by CNN raises question about the role race may have played in the killing.
18-year-old Matthew Whitten Darby was the white teenager behind the wheel of the car that hit Butts. Darby is charged with murder, but not a hate crime. Butts’ family and many African-Americans in the community claim the District Attorney and white law enforcement in the county aren’t doing enough to investigate why Butts was run over.
A former U.S. Marine is free after spending four months in a Mexican prison. Jon Hammar was held on a questionable gun charge because he crossed the border with his great grandfather's antique shot gun, which was deemed too short by Mexican authorities.
U.S. officials told him it was permitted after he completed the proper paperwork, but he was arrested as soon as he entered the country. He says the purpose of the gun was so he and the friend he was traveling with could hunt while camping. The trip was intended to be a surfing vacation in Costa Rica.
Hammar described the harsh conditions to Anderson Cooper. Other inmates in the prison tried to extort money from his parents. He was then removed from the general population and placed in solitary confinement where he was chained to his bed.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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