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Bipartisan Gun Plan Has Loophole; Tracking An 8-Year-Old's Hit List; North Korea May Launch Multiple Missiles; Obama Budget Sets State For Battle

Aired April 10, 2013 - 14:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for me. But CNN NEWSROOM continues.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm Brooke Baldwin, live in New York today. Why? Because very soon I will be racing into the middle of our CNN NEWSROOM, one floor above me, and interviewing this guy, CNN's newest addition, Mr. Anthony Bourdain. And let me tell you, we have some tough questions for him today. Some questions out of left field as well, which he assured me would be a-OK with him, including a lightning round. Do not miss that at the bottom of the hour.

But first, I want to begin with this. Four months after a gunman massacred children in Connecticut, the nation is seeing the first gun reform proposal with an actual chance of becoming law. Why? Because it's coming from these two men. Here they are. You have Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat. They are both gun rights advocates, both strongly supported in the past by the NRA, but now they are both facing opposition from the powerful gun lobbying group. We're going to get to that here in just a moment.

But here is what the senators would like to do. Set up a commission to study mass violence. Expand background checks to buyers at gun shows and online. Right now, only people buying at a gun store are vetted. Senator Manchin explains what the plan does not cover.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: What we have done, if you go to a gun show, that's tight. You have to do all background checks and it has to be recorded with an FFL, a Federal Firearms licensed dealer. The same as you do if you go to the gun store who -- that would be a licensed dealer. If you go online, the same. Other than that, no. Personal transfers are not touched whatsoever. All personal transfers are not touched whatsoever.


BALDWIN: No doubt the critics will see that omission as a huge loophole. As for the National Rifle Association, yes, not happy either. Here's a statement from them here. They say, "expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg's universal background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows."

The senators' plan is expected to be the first debated on Capitol Hill, as soon as possibly tomorrow. And while it shows promise, there is still no guarantee whatsoever that it will pass through congress.

Joining me now is Raul Mas, the Second Amendment activist.

Raul, good to see you. Welcome.

RAUL MAS, GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Thank you for having me, Brooke. A pleasure to be here.

BALDWIN: Let me just begin with your reaction to this compromise on background checks today.

MAS: Listen, I'm not in favor of it, quite frankly. Mind you, I speak as an individual, as a member of the NRA, but I'm not a spokesman for the NRA. But, quite frankly, I'm not in favor of it. I agree that it's going to do absolutely nothing to basically decrease gun violence in this country, let alone the school shootings that occurred in Newtown and what we saw also in Aurora. You know, we've spoken a lot in the last couple of months about a comprehensive plan to eliminate gun violence in this country. There is nothing comprehensive at all about this. We are, once again, going down the same tired path of basically trying to put the onus of all this gun violence on the backs of America's law abiding gun owners, myself included.

BALDWIN: Now, before I push you a little bit on that, some of this is personal for you. I know you emigrated with your family at a very young age from Cuba to escape the reign of Fidel Castro. Were you old enough, Raul, to feel his limiting civilian's power then?

MAS: No. But, listen, but it's a very clear -- you can look this up very clearly. I mean, you know, one of the very first things that Fidel Castro did when he came into power was to absolutely round up all private firearms in the hands of citizens and basically declared a state monopoly on the ownership of firearms. And so therefore, yes, this is a subject I feel very strongly about. I have fought for it my entire life and I will continue to do so because I think we are going down the wrong path. These kinds of laws --

BALDWIN: Well, let me --

MAS: Go ahead.

BALDWIN: Let me just be clear because this is not -- this could be, I should say again, this is proposed legislation, this compromise that we're hearing about. This is not universal background checks. So this doesn't actually include private transactions. So if someone wants to, you know, sell a gun to your neighbor but your neighbor is not well in the mind, so to speak, you could still do that. As a supporter of Second Amendment rights, how does that sit with you?

MAS: Well, listen, let me start by saying, you know what, as a private individual, you know, you can't be in the business of selling guns without having a Federal Firearms License. The amount of transactions, the number of transactions that occur every year in this country as a result of private firearms sales are actually quite minuscule. And there is already plenty of laws on the books against strawman purchases, which are illegal already, against selling firearms outside of the state, against being in the commercial business of selling firearms without a Federal Firearms License. There's plenty of regulations already on the books to basically keep individuals from doing this and circumventing the law. And I think what you're doing by passing these kinds --

BALDWIN: Then what about --

MAS: What I think you're doing by passing these kinds of ordinances is basically putting yet another regulatory burden and potentially criminalizing a bunch of individuals who, quite frankly, are now going to get in trouble because they sold a shotgun down to their buddy at the range that they skeet shoot with every other weekend.

BALDWIN: Well, some people are responsible, some people, as we have witnessed are not. But final question, when you look at the CNN/ORC poll, basically nine out of 10 Americans support some sort of, you know, some sort of background checks here for gun purchases. If you, Raul, just if you're sitting around the dinner table with any of those nine out of 10 Americans who support this, who are not on your side, where would you compromise? Give me one thing.

MAS: Listen, I think, you know, we are all in favor of trying to make sure we can keep firearms out of the hands of deranged individuals, OK, and out of the hands of hardened criminals, OK. This legislation, unfortunately, doesn't do that. It imposes yet another burden on citizens.

BALDWIN: So where would you compromise? Give me one item.

MAS: Where I would compromise is basically to say, you know what, if you want to, you know, on any commercial sale, on any sale of firearm, regardless of where it may be located, a commercial sale, I'm OK with a background check, but not routine transactions between friends, between family, between individuals that have known each other for a long period of time and simply want to lend somebody a firearm or sell an occasional gun to somebody that they've known for 10 or 15 years.

BALDWIN: OK, Raul Mas, thank you so much for coming on. We're going to continue this conversation today.

MAS: My pleasure, Brook. Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: Coming up in the next hour, we're going to speak with the mother of a Sandy Hook student who was gunned down in December. She will speak with me live. Will this proposal be enough for her, this compromise? I'll ask.

Meantime, this breakthrough legislation on background checks comes as CNN goes in depth all day long with our special report, "Guns Under Fire." Some schools are trying to curb the violence by spotting a shooter before the student ever gets near a gun. CNN's Nick Valencia explains.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I were a teacher, I would go mad. I would have an AK-47 disguised as an umbrella. Then when I see my class, I will pull the gun out, shoot the kids and then save the last bullet from me.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And this is from somebody who's eight years old?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight years old. It's an eight-year-old child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wrote a hit list.

VALENCIA (voice-over): For the last few years, Dr. Tony Beliz and his team at the Los Angeles County Mental Health Department have worked to try to prevent the next school shooting.

DR. TONY BELIZ, LOS ANGELES CO. DEPT. OF MENTAL HEALTH: So how are we going to impact this kid?

VALENCIA: One of the things they found is that students who show a strong potential for school violence are getting younger and younger.

BELIZ: You don't always get the classic school shooter on his way to school with the handgun or the semi-automatic, but we see kids that are in significant distress. And we know that if we intervene early, those things will not become so incapacitating in the future.

VALENCIA: While they may not be able to predict a violent outburst, his team looks at indicators, including communications, like letters and drawings.

DR. LYNN GOODLOE, MOTHER OF SON WITH MENTAL ILLNESS: I never felt that he was a danger to others. He always was more of a danger to himself.

VALENCIA: As the mother of a boy debilitated by mental illness, Lynn Goodloe saw the warning signs when he was in high school. A surgeon for more than 30 years --

GOODLOE: All is well.

VALENCIA: She says she struggled with understanding her son's condition. With mental illness, there is no clean diagnosis.

GOODLOE: Being a surgeon, you identify some problem, you go in, you cut it out, it's done, finished. You know, it's done. But with mental illness, it's a very emotional roller coaster. And it is heart wrenching.

VALENCIA: Her experience has led her to champion a mental health intervention program for high school students in L.A. It's another resource in a city that many regard as a model in addressing the issue. The LAPD works hand and hand with Dr. Beliz and the L.A. County's Department of Mental Health. DET. CHARLES DEMPSEY, LOS ANGELES POLICE: Absent this program or absent the strategy and the dedicated work of the clinicians and officers who work here, we would be another front page news item.

VALENCIA: Something Tony Beliz hopes will never happen here.

BELIZ: The program has been effective in identifying individuals who are on a pathway to violence. And our follow-up has shown that they haven't acted out.

VALENCIA: But with nearly 700,000 students in the Los Angeles United School District, it's a daunting task.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Los Angeles.


BALDWIN: Just in to us at CNN, word of another investigation involving infectious diseases at the dentist. This case in Arkansas. The state department of health revealing it has been contacting about 100 patients all the way from 14 years of age to 22 about possible contamination. The dentist at the center of this died in February. And this comes here just a week after the incidents in Oklahoma involving hundreds of dental patients now being tested for Hepatitis and HIV.

And now it's a story that unfolded live this time yesterday on this show. Near Houston, a psychological evaluation is now in order for this young man who stabbed 14 people at Lone Star College yesterday. Police say 20-year-old Dylan Quick had fantasies of stabbing people since he was eight.


SHERIFF ADRIAN GARCIA, HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: We have charged Dylan with three counts of aggravated assault. We're focused on the recovery of the victims. And we know what you have already stated, that he has fantasized since elementary school about stabbing individuals, and that he has planned this particular incident apparently for quite some time.


BALDWIN: We now know Quick used a razor, utility knife, when he randomly was stabbing his victims. They are all expected to survive.

Let's got a quick market check now. And we can see, oh, rocking and rolling again today. Remember yesterday we hit that all-time high, the Dow up 146 points right now. Less than two hours away from the closing bell. Both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500, I should mention, hit highs yesterday. And today we'll continue to watch the markets for you as we approach the closing bell.

Now to some of the hottest stories in a flash. "Rapid Fire." Roll it.

You are looking at a giant breakthrough. You are hearing a massive explosion under the streets of New York City. Look at this again. The MTA blowing through tons of bedrock to make way for a subway expansion on Manhattan's east side. That's a huge explosion. The project said to cost $8.3 billion.

And you are still able to get your mail on Saturdays, at least for now. The Postal Service announced today it is delaying the plan to end Saturday service. Not by choice, though. Congress prohibited the plan to stop delivering mail on Saturdays. The Postal Service says it is disappointed but it will, quote, "follow the law."

And I would imagine folks in parts of South Dakota are probably wondering where is spring? Look at this. They're getting hammered with winter-like snow today. Oi (ph). They want to put the shovels away. Ice-covered trees. Snow falling everywhere. Thousands left without power. Enjoy it, those of you in the sunshine. The storm is expected to move into Minneapolis later tonight. In the east, summer temperatures. D.C., a balmy 88 degrees right now.

Today, all eyes, once again, on the Korean peninsula as new intelligence warns North Korea could be about to launch not one, not two, but multiple ballistic missiles. Want you to hear what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said just a short time ago.


CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: This country, the United States of America, our allies, the United Nations, has been very clear that North Korea has been with its bellicose rhetoric, with its actions, have been skating very close to a dangerous line. Our country is fully prepared to deal with any contingency, any action that North Korea may take or any provocation that they may instigate. And we have contingencies prepared to do that.


BALDWIN: U.S. troops are now preparing for what's being called an imminent test launch, upping their alert status in South Korea. CNN's Anna Coren is in Seoul for us.

And, Anna, we now know that the U.S., these missiles have received their liquid fuel. What else do we know about them?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke, fueled up and ready to go. And as you say, the Pentagon confirming that we could be expecting multiple missile launches. They have described North Korea as the masters of deception. So perhaps, you know, they want us -- the international community -- to focus on those two Musudan missiles, which are positioned on the east coast. They've never tested these medium range missiles before. They should travel about 4,000 kilometers. But perhaps that is a bit of a decoy and then there will be other missiles that will be launched as well.

So, certainly we can expect this any day now. That's according to the United States and also South Korean authorities. A date, Brooke, that we should keep in mind is the 15th of April. That will be the anniversary of the birth of the founder of North Korea, Kim Il-sung, who, of course, is the grandfather of Kim Jong-un. BALDWIN: Let me just show our viewers this poll, because we wanted to just get the pulse, you know, of Americans here, if North Korea attacks South Korea, should the U.S. send troops? We can see the majority of Americans say, yes. You're there in Seoul, Anna What are South Koreans saying?

COREN: Well, Brooke, it's quite strange and I'm sure, you know, to the outside world people would think that people here in Seoul would be very much on edge. But in actual fact, that is not the case. People are going about their daily lives as if it was, you know, a normal occurrence, what is going on.


COREN: The reason being is they've been living in this climate for the last 60 years. Ever since the end of the Korean War in 1953, when the armistice was signed, the two countries have basically technically been at war. So they're quite used to this rhetoric that comes out of North Korea.

However, Brooke, I should mention that what we are seeing from Kim Jong-un is unprecedented. You know, at least with his father, we knew what he wanted, whether it be food or aid or fuel or just a position at the bargaining table. But with Kim Jong-un, he is untested and really no one knows what is going through his mind.

BALDWIN: Pyongyang has been eerily quiet as of late. Anna Coren for us in Seoul. Anna, thank you.

Coming up next, a story you will never forget. A teenager says she was gang raped at a party, then humiliated when pictures were sent to her classmates. Today, this young woman is gone. She killed herself after months of bullying. Now her mother is speaking out. And you're about to hear from her.


BALDWIN: Hot off the printing press, it is the president's annual budget proposal. You know, a little bedtime reading for the folks in D.C. A mere 244 pages. For you, my dear viewers, I have broken it down to three.

Page one, the all important deficit. It goes down in 2014 to $744 billion. Page two, taxes. The president wants more from the wealthy for that deficit shrinkage and to start up national pre-k. Page three, something new, potentially irksome to the president's own supporters, possible savings coming out of Social Security and Medicare.

Jessica Yellin, our chief White House correspondent, those are my three headlines. What are yours?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm with you on the headlines, Brooke. The major one is that he is offering to reform Social Security and Medicare. Finding savings in both of those programs, so important to key Democrats. And some in the president's own party are now howling betrayal. The president is also proposing to raise taxes on millionaires. Millionaires in particular. And together, all of this is meant to kick-start negotiations with the Republicans on the debt and also replace those across the board spending cuts.

This is going to surprise you. As you might expect, he says that he has gone a long way in offering compromise. This was the president.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For years, the debate in this town has raged between reducing our deficits at all costs, and making the investments necessary to grow our economy. And this budget answers that argument because we can do both.


YELLIN: And, guess what, it answers the argument by enraging both Democrats and disappointing some Republicans. So we don't see this as likely to lead to much action here in Washington, D.C. It's sort of a mission statement for the president going forward, Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK. So this could make for some fun fodder over dinner tonight, where I understand the president is planning to sell this. Who's coming to dinner? Republicans only?

YELLIN: Ah, yes. Yes, Republicans only. This is part two of that date with the Republicans. He -- the first one he held a few weeks ago. We have a partial list of the senators, Republican senators. CNN has independently confirmed, we've been calling around to offices that do plan to attend the dinner tonight. It's going to be here at the White House in the old family dining room at 6:30 this evening. No hotel meals for this group. The last group ate at the Jefferson Hotel.

We expect that he'll talk about the budget, but also immigration reform will be up for discussion. And, Brooke, I'll (ph) emphasize guns. This is an issue that the president has gotten personally involved in. I can confirm to you, or tell you, that yesterday the president personally placed calls to senators pushing them to get on board this gun legislation. So he is rolling up his sleeves and playing a role in pushing that, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Yes, Jessica Yellin at the White House. Jess, thank you.

YELLIN: Thanks.

BALDWIN: It is a story that has become all too familiar. Last month, the case of a teenager raped by two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, absolutely captured the nation's attention. And now, sadly, a similar story has folks across the country shocked and mad. But this time the alleged victim here is dead. This is Rehtaeh Parsons, 17 years young. She hanged herself in her bathroom last week. Why? Her mother has reason to believe it is because Rehtaeh was gang raped and then bullied. More than a year ago she says Rehtaeh went to a party. I want you to listen to how she says it got started.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEAH PARSONS, TEEN'S MOTHER: And they started drinking vodka straight. Somewhere in there the girl -- one of the girls left. And then it was Rehtaeh with four boys. So from -- Rehtaeh doesn't remember all of it. She remembers a guy leading her up the stairs. Guys taking turns on top of her.


BALDWIN: Now her mother says someone took a picture of one of the boys raping Rehtaeh. She apparently was seen throwing up while this happened. And that picture went viral online. Similar to the Steubenville case. Rehtaeh would become the talk of her school. She was blamed. She was even called a slut.


PARSONS: One girl that was her friend put on her status, "sluts need to leave this school anyway." Just bullying. And boys that she didn't know sending messages, "you want to have fun," "you did it with my friends, why don't we get together." It just was non-stop.


BALDWIN: And by non-stop, more than a year. Her mother says life became unbearable for Rehtaeh, especially after learning the boy she said raped her would face no charges. She switched schools. She got checked for depression. Things apparently got better for Rehtaeh, but not good enough. Last week she gave up on life.


PARSONS: I didn't even knock on the door. I just picked it open and feel the weight of her body on the door. I didn't think anything. I just opened the door and said, Rehtaeh, and I had to cut her down. She was hung. She was hanging.


BALDWIN: Rehtaeh's family took her off life support Sunday. Police say they didn't have enough evidence to prosecute the boys for sexual assault, but Rehtaeh's mother believes kids these days must be held accountable.


PARSONS: I think kids have to be accountable for their actions. And I think something, you know, like Rehtaeh always said, they talk about bullying at school, mom, but they don't care.


BALDWIN: Rehtaeh will be laid to rest this week. Her family will remember her for being a great sister and a daughter. They hope Rehtaeh's story helps families going through similar pain. And when it comes to these allegations of teens being cruel online, we can do better. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A brand-new series starts this Sunday. We are all very excited about this here at CNN. It is called "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown." In fact, I'm about to make a mad dash, one floor above me, to talk to Tony Bourdain. He is meeting the folks in our news room here in New York. He's hanging out, waiting for me. So we're going to ask him a bunch of questions, including where he's going with this series, if there's anywhere in the world he wouldn't go. Also, his passion for writing. Writing for HBO's "Treme." He's a big music fan. We have some lightning round questions as well. Paula Deen, fatherhood. So while I'm dashing upstairs, take a look at this special preview of what's coming up Sunday on "Parts Unknown." Anthony Bourdain takes us inside Myanmar. Watch.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN'S "ANTHONY BOURDAIN PARTS UNKNOWN" (voice-over): The beginning of three days of breakout the crazy. Giant speakers compete for attentions, just like a New York street fair, but with infinitely better food.

BOURDAIN (on camera): These are the little birds?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. These guys are really good. It was flying just a bit earlier this morning.

BOURDAIN: I'll tell you, it's the backbone of every street fair in the world, isn't it, deep fried food?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. But here they also break a quail egg in it. One shot. It's pretty good. (INAUDIBLE). All right. This is so tasty. (INAUDIBLE) greasier than I thought it would be. In fact, rather delicate.

BOURDAIN: Yes, any time you tell me crispy little bird, I'm all over it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good head. Good beak too.