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.
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.
Baltimore Co. Police Chief James Johnson on what he thinks is the most important element of gun control reform.
FROM CNN WIRES:
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.
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.
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.
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.
This morning, President Obama has his gun task force's recommendations in his hands. Yesterday, during the last press conference of his first term, he said that he'd be reviewing some steps he could take to advance his gun control priorities.
“What you can count on is that the things that I've said in the past, the belief that we have to have stronger background checks, that we can do a much better job in terms of keeping these magazine clips with high capacity out of the hands of folks who shouldn't have them, an assault weapons ban that is meaningful, that those are things I continue to believe make sense,” President Obama says.
Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon, also co-founder of No Labels, takes on the GOP's position on guns for destroying the party and comes to “Early Start” this morning to explain.
He suggests Republicans come forward with their own proposal for gun legislation because there are gun control measures that Republicans support which have nothing to do with the Second Amendment. McKinnon urges Republicans not to be defensive about it.
“Don’t wait for the Democrats to come out with an agenda, then simply respond to it,” he says. “Have a Republican agenda. Let’s have a Republican plan on guns.”
He believes Republicans would “get a lot of points” for saying, “we want to protect our rights, but we want to make sure that we do background checks, that...we do mental health checks,” he explains. “Those things just make common sense.”
McKinnon believes change is on its way, “and if Republicans don’t get on board and acknowledge and be part of it, then I think we’ll continue to dig our ditch deeper.”