Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law Wednesday that has critics howling and proponents applauding.
House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 - which opponents have nicknamed the "guns everywhere bill" - specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.
GeorgiaCarry, which lobbied for the bill, calls it "meaningful pro-gun legislation," despite it being watered down from the group's perspective. Still, the group has lauded the legislation, which will go into effect July 1. Americans for Responsible Solutions opposed the bill, calling it "extremism in action."
Wednesday's signing came at an open-air picnic area along a creek in Ellijay, in northern Georgia. It opened with a prayer, the singing of the national anthem and a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Hundreds of people filled more than 25 picnic tables, while others stood. Many were openly carrying handguns, and some wore National Rifle Association hats and buttons proclaiming, "Stop Gun Control" and "Guns Save Lives."
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CNN's Jim Acosta reports on President Obama's push for new gun control laws, and the politics standing in the way.
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA) & State of the Union guest Rev. Winford Bell on President Obama's call to action on guns.
CNN's Ted Rowlands reports on two men questioned in connection with the shooting of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton.
FROM CNN WIRES:
Chicago (CNN) - A teen who performed at events around President Barack Obama's inauguration was shot to death in Chicago this week, and now her story has become part of the debate in Washington over gun violence nationwide.
The shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton came up in a U.S. Senate hearing and a White House press briefing Wednesday.
"She was an honor student and a majorette," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois. Performing at inaugural events last week "was the highlight of her young, 15-year-old life," he said.
Speaking at Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, Durbin mentioned Pendleton's death as he argued that more must be done to stop gun crimes.
"Yesterday, in a rainstorm after school, she raced to a shelter. A gunman came in and shot her dead," he said. "Just a matter of days after the happiest day of her life, she's gone."
The park shelter where she was shot is just a mile from Obama's home in Chicago.
This morning on "Early Start," Hadiya's dad Nathaniel and godfather Damon Stewart talk about her legacy, and changes they hope to see in gun control laws.
READ MORE: Teen who performed at Obama inaugural events shot dead in Chicago
Baltimore Co. Police Chief James Johnson on what he thinks is the most important element of gun control reform.
Washington (CNN) - On one side were pegboard panels mounted with various assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons - including a Bushmaster similar to the one used in last month's Newtown school massacre.
Behind the stage stood police officers supporting a renewed ban on such firepower. One by one, victims of gun violence told their brief stories and expressed support for a new federal ban being proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein on some assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons.
Almost six weeks after the Connecticut shooting rampage that killed 20 first graders, Feinstein said she planned to introduce her measure later Thursday, with Reps. Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Ed Perlmutter of Colorado doing the same in the House.
Feinstein's proposal would upgrade an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and also outlaw ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
She said the goal is to "dry up the supply of these weapons over time."
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Paul Steinhauser looks at the details of Sen. Feinstein's plan and the public support for this type of assault weapons ban.
READ MORE: 'Enough is enough,' Feinstein says in proposing new gun ban
Six months after the massacre in Aurora, the Century 16 movie theater where 12 people were killed and nearly 60 wounded is scheduled to roll its screens again. The Colorado theater will reopen to the public tommorrow, remodeled and renamed.
The newly renovated theater was opened this week for private visits from family members. A formal reopening dedicated to the remembrance of the tragedy will be held tonight. Aurora's mayor and Colorado's governor are expected to speak. But many families have decided not to attend tonight. Jessica Watts, whose cousin Jonathan Blunk was a victim of the shooting at Aurora, is one those boycotting the reopening. She joins us live from Denver this morning.
Watts says she has no interest in attending the theater’s reopening because she feels families are “being used as pawns” and as “momentum for their public ticket sales.” However, some families did visit the theater and said it was therapeutic for them. Watts believes “it depends on the healing process” whether some find it helpful or not. “All of us are at different stages of healing and grief and…different levels of trauma,” she says. “I know of a few family members that are going back, but I choose not to, just because I would rather focus my energy on…how we can make a change…in policies, kind of according to what President Obama wanted to do yesterday.”
The president proposed measures to curb gun violence yesterday, but it looks unlikely that the Senate will pass an assault weapons ban. Still, Watts feels hopeful. “Our pleas are being heard,” she says.
FROM CNN's POLITICAL TICKER:
Washington (CNN) – There is strong support from Americans for many of the proposals to curb gun violence that President Barack Obama announced Wednesday, but according to a new national poll, public support has slipped a bit when compared to surveys taken immediately after last month's mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.
A CNN/Time Magazine/ORC International poll also indicates that Americans generally favor stricter gun control and think that it is too easy to buy guns in this country, but they don't believe that stricter gun laws would reduce gun violence all by themselves.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Paul Steinhauser breaks down the numbers and what it could mean for future gun control measures.
READ MORE: CNN/Time Poll: Slight dip in support for gun control measures in last month
FROM CNN WIRES:
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will unveil Wednesday a package of gun control proposals that, according to a source, will include universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will announce the proposals, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday.
They will be joined by a group of children who wrote letters to the president in the aftermath of the December 14 shooting rampage by a lone gunman who killed 20 students and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, Carney said.
Obama will propose legislative steps he previously has backed, such as a ban on assault weapons, restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines and strengthening federal background checks of people attempting to buy guns, according to Carney.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Dan Lothian details the President's expected gun control plan.
READ MORE: Details emerge on President Obama's gun control proposal coming today
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