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PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Georgia Gunman Holds Firefighters Hostage; Guns in America

Aired April 10, 2013 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Gun siege in Georgia, the battle over background checks and standoffs with North Korea. This is a special PIERS MORGAN LIVE. I want to welcome my studio audience and all of you at home. We're taking your questions and comments. Tweet us @piersmorganlive or @piersmorgan.

A lot to get to tonight, from the Senate's big gun vote just hours from now to the looming threat from North Korea. Will they launch a missile and if so when?

But we begin with breaking news that gives the gun debate added urgency. Four firefighters held hostage by barricaded gunman in suburban Atlanta are safe tonight after an ordeal that lasted for hours. The suspect exchanged gunfire with SWAT officers and is now dead. The firefighters had only superficial injuries.

CNN's David Mattingly is live for us tonight in Suwannee, Georgia, tonight with more -- David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Piers, this all started just as a standard sort of medical call. Firefighters got the call that there was someone in medical distress. They showed up at this address, they came out with their equipment, they had a gurney, they went inside the house. And at that point they realized that there was something very wrong here. They encountered a man with some kind of weapon who then held him hostage for several hours.

We were able to hear this voice of one of the firefighters after they encountered this man. This was from scanner traffic that was overheard as he was radioing back, telling everyone what the situation was that they ran into. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in a situation where we have a, uh -- an armed person. And he is requesting certain -- certain utilities to be turned back on at his house. And he is armed, and we are in the room with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: At this point, authorities saying that was the only demand that this man made, was to have his utilities turned back on. Negotiators, the SWAT team, showed up very quickly after all this was going down. The negotiations apparently did not go well. Just a couple of hours later, the SWAT team was making their move, using concussion grenades, tear gas and going and exchanging gunfire with this man. The man was shot and killed.

We don't know if it was actually from one of the officers or if he took his own life. But this man also shot and wounded one of the police officers during this operation. He was shot in the hand. It is not a life-threatening injury.

The firefighters for themselves, the four of them that remained in that -- in that room with that man, they sustained minor injuries because of the explosive devices that were used in this rescue operation. But they're all OK. And tonight investigators trying to get to the bottom of why this man tried to do this -- Piers.

MORGAN: David Mattingly, thank you very much indeed.

Against the backdrop of the hostage drama in Georgia, the battle of guns in America is even more crucial. The Senate votes tomorrow morning. The vote begins a formal debate on a bill that expands gun background checks.

Joining me now, Senator Robert Casey who says the Newtown massacre has changed his mind on guns in America.

Senator, thank you for joining me. Explain to me why you have changed your mind.

SEN. ROBERT CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Because, Piers, I saw what the whole country saw with regard to the tragedy that we saw in Connecticut. And I was haunted by two things. Number one, and first and foremost, what happened there. In a classroom where 6 and 7-year- old children were shot repeatedly at close range with a high-power rifle with huge pieces of ammunition tearing through them over and over again, shot 10, 11 or more times.

The other horror, of course, what -- was what could have happened. Where this gunman was going to kill every child in that school. Hundreds of children would have died if he got his way. So that's what haunted me. And it caused me to take a very close look at positions I had taken in the past. And I decided over the course of a couple of days to make a change and to vote for some of the measures we'll be voting on starting tomorrow and the next few days.

MORGAN: I believe you also were very moved by an interview that was on this show that I conducted with a family of Vicki Soto, one of the hero teachers who sadly lost her life. I actually have one of Vicki's sisters with me, Carlee, right now, who already is very moved, I think, by what you've been saying. Obviously bringing back a lot of powerful memories.

But the fact that a senator in America is prepared to admit that he is changing his mind I think is extremely significant right now in this debate.

When you watch that interview that I did with the Soto family, what was it about that that particularly struck you? CASEY: Well, just how broken these families were and how devastated they were by this tragedy. And I think in so many ways, the whole country had the same reaction that I had. And I think we have to ask ourselves, if you're an elected official that has a vote, you've got to decide how will you use that vote when it comes in front of you.

And I -- I think in some ways, it's good -- it's very positive that we've got a bipartisan agreement on a background check bill. That's good news. But it's not enough. The test here is not what the deal is in Washington or whether Democrats or Republicans come together. That's important. We've got to strive to achieve that.

The test here is what if one of those children was staring you in the face right now. What would you say to them when they said, have you done everything you can, have you voted and acted in every possible way to protect me from being killed in the way that I was?

The tests are these children. The 6 and 7-year-olds and whether or not we're taking every step possible to protect these children in such a way that this won't happen again, or that we reduce the likelihood, substantially, immeasurably that it won't happen again.

MORGAN: You see the big barrier that keeps coming up is the NRA, and they have been explicit today they don't want any universal background checks, they don't want anything. They'll just carry on sending more and more guns.

You had a high rating from the NRA. You're an A and B-plus in the past. You are making an enemy of the NRA now with what you're doing and they will come after you, won't they?

CASEY: Well, they may, and they probably will at some point. But here's the good news on that, Piers, is that the country has come together in ways that I don't think we've ever seen in recent history. Most of the country understands that like we have in Pennsylvania -- we've got more than a million gun owners in Pennsylvania. It's part of our tradition, it's part of our culture. And it's very positive in our state.

And I think we can say to those gun owners, we want to respect your rights in every way that is possible under our system. We -- you can have a gun for protection, and a lot of people need a gun for protection. You can have a gun to engage in hunting or sporting. You can do that within the limits and within what we will vote on the next couple of days.

I think we've got to make sure that we limit the magazines, the ammunition that's available in one weapon at one time and one place. And we saw the effects of that not only in Connecticut but in a lot of places around the country. So I think we can respect those rights and have commonsense measures and still make sure that we take every step possible to protect children in similar circumstances.

MORGAN: I completely agree with you. Senator, thank you very much indeed for -- I want to turn to Carlee Soto. Anything to say to the senator? It's pretty extraordinary for a senator to be so outspoken in his change of mind about this.

CARLEE SOTO, SISTER DIED AT SANDY HOOK: I think it's amazing that, you know, he did change his mind. And he was completely right with, you know, they did come to an agreement today and everything. But that's not enough. It's really not. You know, these kids were brutally murdered. My sister was brutally murdered. And it's just not enough what they -- you know, what they said about the background checks.

MORGAN: You see, the senator said -- this is my problem with all of this. And I'm curious as to how you think we get through this, is that if what happens tomorrow leads to some form of enhanced background checks, that's all well and good. And that will be a good thing. I don't dispute that. But it's not going to stop another Adam Lanza. It won't stop another Holmes, the Aurora shooter, another Loughner, the man who shot Gabby Giffords and nearly killed her.

Those three, in the way they went about acquiring their weapons and their high-capacity magazines and their assault rifles and so on, would all be free to do exactly the same thing again. And 95 percent of it completely legally, up to the point they commit their atrocities.

How are you going to convince the politicians in Washington to listen to people like Carlee and the other families? Because I see that you get it. What I don't see is that the others get it.

CASEY: Well, I think people of good faith can come together on this, Piers, in ways that probably weren't passable before. And unfortunately for the families, this tragedy is the one event in recent American history I think that has moved people. But -- and it will take time. We've got a ways to go.

This debate will have in the next couple of days won't be the end of it, even if the background check bill passes. And I want to commend the work done by a number of senators, including Pat Toomey with whom I serve from Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin from West Virginia. But we've got a long way to go, even if it does pass.

We've got more work that we have to do. And I think people of goodwill, if we focus on the children, if we focus on what could have happened, if we took steps years ago, that Olivia Engel, for example, a 6-year-old who's going to appear in a nativity play that night as an angel, that she would have been -- would have played that role that night.

So if we focus on those children and answer their question that we -- or the question they would be asking us, have you taken every step possible to make sure that this can't happen again. And that is a -- that's the question that we've got to ask ourselves, especially those of us who have a vote.

MORGAN: I want to play a quick clip. This is from Senator Joe Manchin today who got emotional when he talked about his experience of meeting some of the families in Washington from Sandy Hook.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I'm a parent. I'm a grandparent. I can't imagine. Let's all share. I can't imagine. I just -- I had to do something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Carlee, I've got four kids. I've got a sister. I've got two brothers. If something like what happened to Vicki happened to any of them, I would be incandescent. Never mind grief-stricken. I would just want something to happen. When you see the politicians reacting because they connected to it in that way, and I applaud Senator Manchin, he's a good man doing a good thing.

But what do you say to those politicians, the senators up there, who are more interested in saving their seat politically than in doing something to prevent another Sandy Hook?

SOTO: I'm 20 years old. My sister was 27 years old. I picked out my own sister's casket. I picked out what my sister will be buried in. I had to do that. No one should ever have to do that. It was a horrible feeling. And maybe if they had to feel that, they would change their mind. They would think differently about this. If they lost someone so close to them, they would definitely change their mind.

MORGAN: The type of weapon that was used, this AR-15 assault rifle. Do you think it has any place in civilian life?

SOTO: No. Not at all. You know, I stood at the barrier leading up to Sandy Hook. And for hours just watching, you know, military personnel and police officers with these huge guns. And then finding out that he had one of these. It was horrible.

And you know, I didn't know that there was a difference. And the bullet holes that it would leave. I thought it was just a normal bullet hole. Until I saw my sister's clothing that she wore. I saw the baseball- holes -- size holes that were in my sister's clothes. They were huge. It was unbelievable to imagine that a normal person could just have this gun. A normal person can walk into a school and just start shooting at little kids.

MORGAN: And these baseball-sized holes, it was the same for the children. Each one was hit three to 11 times. And I believe that you -- very recently this week met with some of the children that survived. What was that experience like for you?

SOTO: It was amazing. Sorry. My sister died protecting those kids. And it was nice to see the kids that made it out. The kids that my sister was able to protect. It was nice to meet them. And you know, they just looked at you and they were like, oh, you look just like Miss Soto. You just -- you look just like her. And it was nice to see that. But why we met them wasn't a good circumstance. MORGAN: People have suggested that if any of the families released a photograph of the devastating injuries that happened that day, it would change public opinion like that. Do you think there's any merit to that argument?

SOTO: Personally, I feel like we haven't seen the crime scene photos. And that's a horrible thing to have to see. And it's sad to think that, you know, people would change their mind after seeing these photos. But I'm telling you. They had baseball-sized holes in them. That's horrible enough. Can't you just deal with that? Do you really need to see the pictures also?

MORGAN: He used, the shooter, 30-bullet magazines. Still many senators, many other politicians in America, see no reason to try and limit their availability. What do you say?

SOTO: The youngest boy, Noah, was shot 11 times. That's almost half one magazine. That's disgusting. Why should anybody be able to have that much ammunition? You don't need that much ammunition. And it's disgusting to think that people think otherwise about it.

MORGAN: Do you think that some of the children may have survived if he hadn't had such a high-capacity magazine in his weapons?

SOTO: Definitely. Very much so. It's just mind-boggling to think that he had that much ammunition on him.

MORGAN: President Obama has made this very personal. Michelle Obama is very personal today about it from Chicago.

Is he doing enough? Are you happy with what he is trying to achieve here?

SOTO: I think he's doing an amazing job. He's trying so hard for this not to happen again. And there's only so much he can do. And he's just -- he's been amazing through all of this. And I've had the pleasure of meeting him and talking to him. And he's a very nice person, to me, and he's trying. But like I said, there's only so much he can do about this.

Carlee, it's very brave of you to come on the show and talk this way. I think it's -- how anyone can listen to any of the families from Newtown and not just race to contact their politician, their senator, their congressman, their congresswoman, and demand action is completely beyond me. So keep doing what you're doing. And we will be right behind you.

SOTO: Thank you.

MORGAN: Thank you for joining me.

SOTO: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: When we come back, yes, I think we should (inaudible).

(APPLAUSE) (MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: With its bellicose rhetoric, with its actions, have been skating very close to a dangerous line. Their actions and their words have not helped defuse a combustible situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's stern warnings about North Korea. American radar and satellites are trained on the east coast of the Korean Peninsula watching for signs of an impending missile launch. And CNN's Kyung Lah is live for us tonight in South Korea.

Kyung, the rhetoric continues; the tension builds.

What is likely to happen, do you think, over the next 24 or 36 hours?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very much a guessing game, just like we were guessing yesterday, along with the U.S. government and the South Korean government. Because when we are talking about the Hermit Kingdom, it is very much a guessing game and a very unpredictable one, at best.

So what we are seeing throughout this region is a high level of readiness; that tension here is the highest it has been, according to many people, since the end of the Korean War. So there's a lot of concern.

We're seeing Patriot missile batteries pointed at the sky. The assumption here is that this -- if the test launch does indeed happen, it will be a test launch, a missile test launch. It won't be aiming at anything. But Kim Jong-un has proven to be a very unpredictable leader, Piers, so they are preparing for the worst here.

MORGAN: Kyung, thanks very much indeed.

I want to go to a question from the audience before I introduce Nick Kristof from "The New York Times" and it's to Remy (ph).

Ask your question, please, Remy (ph).

QUESTION: Thanks, Piers.

So we all have some ideas on what the worst-case scenario with North Korea might look like.

But what are some of the best-case scenarios for a peaceful resolution?

And what are some concrete steps that this U.S. administration can take to get us there?

MORGAN: Nick Kristof (ph)?

NICK KRISTOF, "THE NEW YORK TIMES: It's a great question. It's one, I think, a lot of people are wrestling with. I mean, I think that the best case would be that Kim Jong-un, the present leader, who has occasionally sent signals of reform as well as signals of real bellicosity, that he might indeed, as he consolidates control over the country, begin to pursue some economic reforms and essentially take the path that China did in the early 1970s and then accentuated after Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1979.

And China would very much like to see that happen. They would like to see themselves do to North Korea what, you know, what they themselves did. And I think that is about the best possible hope. But for right now --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: I mean, is it much of a hope? I mean, at the moment, you've got this guy who is unknown. He's young. He's inexperienced, potentially extremely unpredictable. I mean, this is a recipe for potential disaster, if only through a mistake.

KRISTOF: You know, I think that almost everybody who looks at it thinks that most likely North Korea is just throwing a tantrum because this is a strategy that has worked in the past, that they threaten a sea of fire in Seoul. And eventually maybe people will pay attention to them and then maybe will bribe them to take a different route.

But there is, as you say, there's always this concern that they may play their cards, that alone they have more of a case for brinkmanship. And they, in 2010, they attacked a South Korean vessel, the Cheonan, sank it with 109 lives aboard.

Things can go wrong. And if they do, it's not just an issue of nuclear weapons. Seoul is within reach of North Korean artillery and they have an awful lot chemical and biological weapons as well.

MORGAN: There is a big holiday coming up in North Korea on Monday to celebrate what would have been the 101st birthday of Kim Jong-un's grandfather, Kim Il-sung. That could be a day potentially for some kind of action, we think, because they tend to celebrate these days with --

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOF: Yes, it's a national holiday and Kim Il-sung, the grandfather, is -- after he died, he was named the president forever. I mean, there are -- some countries have a president for life. He's a president for death. And I mean it really is just the wackiest country around, Piers. And yet it's got nuclear weapons; it's got this artillery trained on Seoul. MORGAN: In the worst-case scenario, who would have the lead role in any kind of containment of North Korea? Would it be America or China?

KRISTOF: Well, what do you mean by -- if there is --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: -- for example, took any action directly against South Korea, for example, who would you expect to lead any kind of retaliatory action?

KRISTOF: The U.S. will be the central force there. And China will be pleading with the U.S. to restrain things. I mean, China doesn't like North Korea and North Korea doesn't listen to China.

But China does not want a consolidation of the two Koreas under South Korean control. And -- but if there is conflict, that will be the end. If there is a real war, that will be the end of North Korea.

It's just that, in 1994, during a period of hostilities, the U.S. Pentagon estimated that in a war there would be 1 million casualties, if there were another Korean War. So it could be a -- if that were to happen, it would be an extraordinarily brutal event.

MORGAN: Let me ask you quickly about guns. Obviously, a huge day tomorrow up in Washington, but listening to Carlee Soto there --

KRISTOF: She was so moving.

MORGAN: -- so powerful, so eloquent.

Where is this debate going to go? Not just tomorrow, but my sense is, the optimism I have -- and it's not a lot, but it's some -- is that we're still talking about this, it's still leading the news three months after Newtown.

KRISTOF: And if you count both suicides and homicides, 10,000 people have died since that shooting. And this will keep on happening.

You know, I guess I'm a little bit optimistic. I see this -- there is no silver bullets here, as you know. There is silver buckshot. Universal background checks are one of those silver buckshot. They will make a real difference. And that, I hope, will lay the groundwork for other modest steps that, over time, can reduce the murders and can reduce the suicides, can limit gun access to some degree.

MORGAN: Nick Kristof (ph), always good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

KRISTOF: Good to be back.

MORGAN: Coming up next, I talk to an NRA member whose sister was shot to death, and I'll be joined by Congressman Mike Thompson, who's at the center of the Capitol Hill debate.

Later, the video you've just got to see: Chicago store owners battling two armed men.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELVIN DANIEL, SISTER SHOT TO DEATH BY ESTRANGED HUSBAND: Zina was this beautiful person who loved life. All she wanted to do was be a good mother.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Zina Haughton had lived fearing her husband Radcliffe Hart would kill her.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Zina claimed she suffered through years of physical abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zina Haughton had a restraining order against her husband that prohibits him from buying a gun. So if the killer bought his gun from a private, online seller and did not have to go through a background check.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The latest ad from Mayors against Illegal Guns tells the tragic story of a woman called Zina who was shot to death by her estranged husband.

It features her brother, Elvin Daniel, who's also a gun owner and NRA member, who believes that background check may have saved his sister.

Also joining me is Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association.

Welcome to you both.

Elvin, incredibly sad story. It should never have happened. Tell me why you believe a background check would have possibly saved your sister.

DANIEL: Well, I do believe a background check would have saved her life, because the killer went online. And purchased a gun in a McDonald's parking lot the day before he committed the murder and then he went to the salon and shot seven people and killed my sister. And two of her co-workers. So I not only believe a criminal background check would helped but also a cooling off period. That may help in that case, as well.

MORGAN: Richard Feldman, we've debated this a few times. But when you hear something like that, what is your response to that? I mean, do you still believe there's no need for universal background checks?

RICHARD FELDMAN, INDEPENDENT FIREARM OWNERS ASSOCIATION: Well, Piers, our organization, the Independent Firearm Owners, supports universal background checks for people who don't know each other. Be it at gun shows or online, to prevent exactly this particular type of tragedy. We brought the legislation today that looks like --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Yes, and you were with Vice President Biden today, I believe.

FELDMAN: Yes, I was.

MORGAN: So you would support the Manchin-Toomey compromise.

FELDMAN: From everything I've heard, absolutely.

MORGAN: Now you obviously formerly did a lot of work with the NRA. When you see the NRA statement which said expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting or not solve violent crime or not keep our kids safe in schools, do you disagree with that?

FELDMAN: Well, there is a lot of truth to what they say. You know, shifting criminals obtaining guns from one source to another doesn't prevent their misuse. But that shouldn't be an excuse not to shore up where we can and this is an instance where we could have. We don't know what would have happened in this instance had that person not bought that gun at that time.

MORGAN: But there's this excuse all of the time, the NRA --

FELDMAN: That's why we support it.

MORGAN: Right.

FELDMAN: Yes.

MORGAN: This excuse the NRA always puts up there about criminals will always be criminals. Of course they will. They're criminals. And that's what the law is designed for. To stop criminals breaking the law and to punish them when they're caught. It doesn't seem to me to be any logical argument to the prevention of the wider issue of gun violence.

FELDMAN: Well, today in my discussion with Vice President Biden, I did bring up a new subject matter. And I said to the vice president that I think it's time in this country that we have an adult discussion about the role, war on drugs plays in perpetuating violence across this country.

Every narcotics officer I've spoken to, and there are hundreds, say that gun violence in their city, a huge proportion is directly related to control over the illegal black market in drugs. We need to make this part of the conversation if we're serious about doing something about the problem of gun violence.

MORGAN: Well, I totally agree with you. I think that, and I think mental health, all those issues, to me, things that have to be attacked. It's a multi-pronged thing here. But in relation to what is going on in Washington, when you have the NRA -- and let me come back to you here, Elvin -- so determined to not even have a universal background check, and you look at what happened with an investigation by CNN tonight, by Martin Savidge, which aired on Anderson Cooper's show earlier, and we've got a -- we've got a picture here of the guns that Martin Savidge was able to acquire going to four or five gun shows around America.

There they are. Including the AR-15 assault rifle, which was used at Sandy Hook, and a variety of handguns. Not a single check was made. Nobody knew his name. Nobody asked for his name. Nobody knew if he was a felon, he was mentally insane. Nothing.

That was our guy. Just paying cash to people who didn't ask any questions. When you see that happening, what is your reaction?

DANIEL: Well, 20 percent of all gun sales are done without background checks.

MORGAN: Some say as high as 40.

DANIEL: It could very well be. I'm being conservative saying 20 percent. I urge Congress to be reasonable and work with each other. And pass a background check for all gun sales to keep our family safe.

MORGAN: The Senate vote to bring the gun bill up for debate is set for tomorrow morning at 11:00. But that's just the first step. What will happen in the House?

Well, joining me now is the chairman of the House Democratic caucus' Gun Violence Prevention task force, Congressman Mike Thompson.

Congressman, is this just the first step in a much wider, ongoing battle in Washington, to bring in proper gun control, do you believe? Or is this going to be as good as it gets? An expansion of background checks?

REP. MIKE THOMPSON (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, first thanks for having me. And the truth of the matter is, the background check is our first line of defense. That has to be done. Every piece of legislation, every issue that's dealt with in Congress, is an ongoing piece of work. But first and foremost, we have to pass the background check. We need to make sure that criminals and dangerously mentally ill folks don't have access to firearms. And you can't do it if you don't do background checks.

MORGAN: But tell me this, though. It's all very well having the background checks and I completely endorse what you just said. But the reality is that no one is attempting in Washington to try and ban the assault rifles that we used in either Aurora or Sandy Hook. No one is trying to ban the high-capacity magazines. And so all the promises and all the outpouring of emotion and anger that follow what happened in Newtown seems to have fallen on completely deaf ears in Washington. Why is that? And how can it restart to reflect the wider public opinion in America?

THOMPSON: Piers, there's a number of people in Washington who are trying to do various things in regard to preventing gun violence, and background checks, stopping straw purchases, stopping gun trafficking, those are the first steps. And they will continue to be people working on this for a long time to come.

We have to prioritize. We need to make sure that we pass not only what we can pass, but what will have the most impact in preventing gun violence. And I believe that's the background checks.

As Elvin said, it's up to 40 percent of the people who buy guns today do those without going through a background check. And that's not right. And the American people know it. NRA members know it. Gun owners know it. There's overwhelming support for this. We can do it, we can do it now. And we can save lives.

MORGAN: Congressman and Elvin Daniel, and Richard Feldman, I thank you all very much.

Coming next, an incredible story. I'll talk to a hero neighbor who saved the life of a young mother accidentally shot by her 2-year- old son. And later, two Chicago store owners who fought back against armed robbers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: No one is immune from gun violence. And this week we are seeing just how young the victims and the shooters can be. Last Sunday a 4-year-old got hold of a gun shot and killed a sheriff's deputy's wife. In New Jersey, a 6-year-old boy was shot in the head by a 4-year-old playmate. And also in Tennessee, a 2-year-old found a gun under his mother's pillow and shot her in the stomach.

Michael Jeter, a neighbor, heard her screams and ran to help. He's being hailed as a hero and he joins me now.

Michael, you indeed were heroic. But what an awful story. Tell me how, first of all, your friend is, and what you know about what happened.

MICHAEL JETER, SAVED WOMAN SHOT BY 2-YEAR-OLD SON: As far as I know, they got her in stable condition. And she is going to be OK. Probably going to be in the hospital for a couple months.

MORGAN: And the understanding is that her husband is in the National Guard and had a habit of leaving a loaded gun under the pillow. And that's what happened. The 4-year-old son got hold of it, is that right? The 2-year-old. I'm sorry.

JETER: Yes, sir.

MORGAN: The 2-year-old. A Glock .9 millimeter?

JETER: Uh-huh.

MORGAN: I mean, let me ask you as somebody who knows the family. It seems to me an extraordinary thing that anyone would leave a loaded pistol in a pillow where you have two young kids running around.

JETER: Yes, definitely. I didn't know them real good. They just moved in a couple months ago.

MORGAN: Well, what you did was an extraordinary thing. And I thank you for joining me. Thank you very much indeed.

I want to go to Janet Taylor. You've dealt with lots of incidents like this. This is just one of many. I mean, we picked this out because it happens almost every day now in America. One of these awful stories. And I keep being told, look, you know, the only way to save people in America from gun violence is get more guns out there. What do you say to that?

DR. JANET TAYLOR, COMMUNITY PSYCHIATRIST: I think it's a reminder that most crime happens within families. But you know, I want to bring out a point about really separating the dangerously mentally ill from criminals. Criminals belong in prisons and mentally ill people need treatment. And I think underlying it all is a lack of accessible treatment for most individuals.

MORGAN: We also need good ideas. I want to bring in Lauren Sorge here, because you've got a great idea, it's called the LifePlate. And you designed this because you had relatives who had been caught up in school shootings, not personally, but were there when they happened. And you thought enough is enough. What is the idea you came up with?

LAUREN SORGE, CREATOR OF LIFEPLATE: OK. So this right here is the LifePlate shield. This is kind of an example of what it looks like. And this one specifically was shot close-range with a .44 magnum. And you can kind of see where the bullet penetrated. But it does not go through. And most bullet-proof shields or protection, for that matter, are made out of Kevlar, which is like the universal material.

But this isn't made out of Kevlar. This is actually made out of a fiber called polyethylene, which is 15 times stronger than steel and is also 40 percent stronger than Kevlar.

MORGAN: See, it's exactly the kind of great idea, I think, Janet, just very quickly, that we need. Don't give these kids guns in schools. It's complete madness to arm kids in schools. But to give them one of these as a prevention against possibly being shot seems to me a great idea.

TAYLOR: Well that and also teach our kids how to be more empathic and have compassion and bring on family values so that we don't even have to deal with these crazy issues of kids feeling like they have to resolve a conflict with a weapon. Teach them how to communicate and spread love with each other.

MORGAN: Totally agree with you. Thank you both very much indeed.

(APPLAUSE)

Michelle Obama got choked up in a speech in Chicago today talking about the gun death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. Could the first lady help to turn the debate on guns?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Hadiya Pendleton was me. And I was her. But I got to grow up. And go to Princeton and Harvard Law School, and have a career and a family and the most blessed life I could ever imagine. And Hadiya, oh, we know that story.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: An emotional Michelle Obama speaking about 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton who was shot and killed in Chicago.

Will a gun deal in Washington keep Americans safer? Let's in my special guest now, CNN senior legal analyst and "New Yorker" writer Jeffrey Toobin. And Gayle Trotter, a senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum.

Let's go to one of our audience for a question here. Because Linda, you have of a question about background checks.

LINDA, AUDIENCE MEMBER: With regards to the background check, I mean, I really don't see where we're going to be able to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally disturbed.

MORGAN: OK. Gayle Trotter, what is your view of the call for universal background checks?

GAYLE TROTTER, SENIOR FELLOW, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: I think that we should not restrict women's rights to have access to firearms. And the more restrictions we put on law-abiding citizens being able to have access to firearms --

MORGAN: Why just women?

TROTTER: Because 90 percent of violent crimes happen without the use of firearms. So in those situations women have a disadvantage. But if they're armed or they have the right to choose to be armed, then they can reverse the balance of power and have possibly an advantage over their violent attacker.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Nobody is saying they can't buy a gun. They could buy a gun, they'll just have to pass a background check.

TROTTER: But it creates limitations for them so if they're being threatened by --

MORGAN: Limitations if they're either mentally disturbed or criminally minded?

TROTTER: No, no, no. It's a restriction. And there have been many --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: No, no, what's the restriction.

TOOBIN: Yes -- no, no wait. Yes, Yes. Not no, no, no, no. Yes, yes, yes, yes.

TROTTER: Many studies that have been show that as you make the fees go up for buying guns, for getting permits for conceal carry permits, all these things they particularly affect women who are in disadvantaged neighborhoods because as you increase, you limit the types of guns that they can possess, like Saturday night specials and you require them to buy more expensive guns and pay higher fees than the women --

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: You're talking about --

TROTTER: -- in dangerous neighborhood.

TOOBIN: People with criminal records and people who have mental illness. That's what this law is. All that stuff about women and about minority neighborhoods. That's just spin and nonsense. Come on.

TROTTER: That's not true.

TOOBIN: It is true.

TROTTER: That is absolutely not true. Eric Holder's Justice Department showed that private citizens account for more than one- third of violent criminals who have been killed during the commission of a felony.

TOOBIN: So what?

TROTTER: So we are already --

TOOBIN: I mean -- what does --

(CROSSTALK)

TROTTER: We're already relying on armed citizens to protect us.

MORGAN: Why would you -- given that you think that women are in danger from guns and you --

TROTTER: No, no, no. You missed my point. They're not in danger from guns because over 90 percent of violent attacks are not with guns. So you're missing my point. MORGAN: So just to clarify what your point is. The point is that if they have a gun, they will not be subjected to domestic violence.

TROTTER: No, that is not the point that I made.

MORGAN: What is the point?

TROTTER: The point that I made is most women when they're violently attacked, their attacker does not have a gun. So if the woman has a gun or has the right to choose to have a gun and we have concealed carry laws and attackers don't know if a woman has a gun or not, she has the ability to defend herself.

MORGAN: Here's where -- here's where I find your argument baffling. That's why I need to clarify. Why would you --

TROTTER: It's not funny.

MORGAN: If you're trying to -- I'm not laughing. Why, if you're trying to protect women and make them safer would you not want a universal background check, that would pick up men, taking your logical argument to extension, who may be criminals or may be mentally ill? Why wouldn't you want to flag those people up and stop them from buying guns?

TROTTER: Well, I testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January and I had over 20 examples of women defending themselves and their loved ones with firearms. And one of your guest that you had on earlier, his sister died from being attacked by her estranged husband --

MORGAN: Yes. But you haven't answered my question.

(CROSSTALK)

TROTTER: You know, her -- let me finish.

MORGAN: I think you're answer --

TROTTER: In a spa. In a spa.

MORGAN: But you're taking part in the wrong debate.

TROTTER: And one of my -- one of my examples with women --

MORGAN: It's -- Gayle, Gayle. You're arguing the wrong point.

TROTTER: She had a pistol in her purse and she was able to draw it and protect herself and all the other people.

MORGAN: Right.

TROTTER: So if that woman had been in a place where someone had arms, easy access to arms.

MORGAN: Gayle, you're not answering --

TROTTER: These law-abiding then she could have stopped --

MORGAN: I don't know why you're not answering my question. My question was very straightforward. Why, if you're trying to make women safer, would you not want to stop men who are criminals or who are mentally insane from getting their hands on guns?

We've already seen tonight at CNN, we managed to acquire an arsenal of firearms. And we could have been criminally minded, mentally insane, or determined to attack women with those guns. Why do you not want to flag out people that may want to harm women?

TROTTER: Because the Second Amendment --

MORGAN: If you take your feminine argument.

TROTTER: Fundamental constitutional right. And gun restrictions disproportionately harm women.

TOOBIN: OK, let me ask you --

TROTTER: So you increase --

TOOBIN: Can I ask you a question about those restrictions?

TROTTER: Yes.

TOOBIN: What about if a man has a domestic violence restraining order against him, should he be allowed to buy a gun?

TROTTER: No, he should not. And I will tell you --

TOOBIN: Well, how do you know?

MORGAN: Well, that's the guy we were talking about earlier.

TOOBIN: Well, how do you know? I thought you were against --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: We had a guest on tonight whose sister was killed by somebody who had a restraining order against him.

TROTTER: Yes, so everybody --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Why do you want that guy to flagged on --

TOOBIN: I thought you were against background check.

TROTTER: Everybody who thinks this is wrong should be petitioning our federal government to go after all those people who are not passing the background checks. We should be prosecuting them.

MORGAN: We all agree about that.

TROTTER: Our system does not work now. So why do we want to throw all these other people in the system that --

MORGAN: Well, actually it does work.

TROTTER: No, it doesn't.

MORGAN: But, Gayle, look --

TROTTER: It doesn't work.

MORGAN: I've heard this argument.

TROTTER: We're not prosecuting --

MORGAN: So Gayle. Gayle.

TROTTER: -- the people for failing the background checks.

MORGAN: Gayle, stop talking for one moment.

TROTTER: Certainly.

MORGAN: It does work because it flags them up and they're not able to buy the firearm. Yes, they should be prosecuted when they're caught lying and so on. Of course they should. But it does stop them getting their hands on weapons. Now --

TROTTER: And then their weapons -- their hands are weapons.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Right. If you're just going to stick to this argument to women with --

TROTTER: People who kill their domestic partner.

MORGAN: Right. If you're --

TROTTER: Not using guns.

MORGAN: Right. But Gayle.

TROTTER: Look at the Arthur Kellerman study.

MORGAN: Gayle. Gayle.

TROTTER: They always use --

MORGAN: Gayle.

TROTTER: -- to try and show --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Gayle, one last chance. One last chance. Because the audience I think --

TROTTER: Would you like to hear about the study?

MORGAN: The audience is sharing my bemusement as to why you want -- you can't answer a simple question.

TROTTER: It's not funny.

MORGAN: Earlier we had a woman who have been subjected to domestic violence. She was then killed by the person that had a restraining order against him, her ex-partner. We had her brother here saying if a background check had picked him up he couldn't have bought that weapon on the Internet.

TROTTER: And my answer to that would be --

MORGAN: Why wouldn't you want a background check to protect her?

TROTTER: -- allow someone to be armed in the place that she was. And we try --

MORGAN: But why wouldn't you want to stop them from getting a gun?

TROTTER: Educate women to know that guns make women safer.

MORGAN: Why wouldn't you stop him getting a gun?

TROTTER: So it would be more helpful to women if you highlighted the cases of women --

MORGAN: We'd all help because (INAUDIBLE) guns?

TROTTER: -- defending themselves and their families and their vulnerable family members from violent attackers with guns.

MORGAN: Jeffrey, am I going mad?

TOOBIN: No.

(LAUGHTER)

No.

(APPLAUSE)

TROTTER: Piers, Piers.

(CROSSTALK)

TROTTER: There are 2.5 domestic gun uses every year.

MORGAN: Gayle, I've given you enough chances.

TOOBIN: OK.

MORGAN: I've you enough chances.

TROTTER: Every year.

MORGAN: Don't understand.

TROTTER: Answer that. Answer that.

MORGAN: You heard the guy here say if we had had a background check on that guy my sister may be alive.

TROTTER: And if somebody who had a gun --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Your answer is give her a gun.

TROTTER: I can play that game, too. Or someone else there.

MORGAN: Your answer is give her a gun.

TROTTER: Or someone else in that place.

MORGAN: His answer is still think -- can I (INAUDIBLE) in the first place.

TROTTER: Our first line of defense, we defend ourselves.

MORGAN: OK. Jeffrey, Gayle, thank you both very much.

Next, the store owner who (INAUDIBLE) and fought back, amazing video of what he did when a couple of gunman tried to hold him up. We have it there after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: They say the only way to stop that bad guy with a gun is for a good guy to have a gun. Well, not always. From Chicago, this extraordinary video of a store owner defending himself from armed robbers. A man wields a bat as he strikes back at the two suspects. He doesn't let up. The 62-year-old helped by his colleague, just continue to strike at the gunman who got out of the door. The store owner says, he just had enough with the robberies and had to do something. And as you can see he most certainly did and good for him.

Thanks to my audience. That's all for us tonight. "Anderson Cooper" starts right now.