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Senate Moves on Gun Legislation; Easy to Buy at Gun Shows; Arias Trial Expert Witness Harassed; Moms Mad at Hakken Boys' Grandparents.

Aired April 11, 2013 - 13:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Senate voted just last hour to break a Republican filibuster move towards debate on gun control. It was 68- 31 vote, clearing the way for lawmakers to take up proposals on new gun regulations. That includes a compromise plan by Democratic and Republican Senators for expanded background checks. It would expand them to include Internet sales and close the loophole over buying weapons at gun shows.

So, what exactly is a so-called gun show loophole?

Well, Martin Savidge and a CNN crew went to five gun shows to find out exactly what this is. Wound up leaving with more than just information. Watch.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a simple idea, just how easily can you buy a gun at a gun show? So a CNN crew took a weekend drive 600 miles with a pocket full of cash hitting five gun shows in three states, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia.

First up, north Georgia. The venue is small and the selection limited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There weren't a lot of vendors. There wasn't a lot of product out there for people to buy.

SAVIDGE: Next, the crew went to Saturday morning local gun show held in a convention center. It was a Smith and Wesson M.P. semiautomatic that first caught our producer's eye. Asking price $625.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a nice one. It's not brand spanking new.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make me an offer. Cash and carry, or do I have to fill out any paperwork for it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cash and carry.

SAVIDGE: But it's early. And the team opts to keep looking. 10 to 20 minutes later, they circle back to the same table negotiating for the same gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 500 hundred for that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, box it up?



SAVIDGE: It's a deal. No background check. It's not needed for a private sale. But the seller is legally required to check I.D., like a driver's license, to make sure the buyer is not from out of state. In this case, no identification asked for, no paperwork, not even a question like, what are you going to do with it. In fact, neither the seller nor buyer even used a first name.

And if that's not surprising enough, listen to what the seller said he got the gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got that off of a police officer yesterday.



SAVIDGE: That's right. He got it from a police officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyway you'd part with both of these for a thousand?

SAVIDGE: It was so easy, the next time the team decided to up the ante.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Umm, probably not at this point, by now. That one right there's very, very new.

SAVIDGE: This time, they see two 9-millimeter semiautomatic handguns, Glock 17s. Asking price for the pair is $1,100. The producer offers a flat $1,000. That's rejected. The next bid of $1050 prompts a phone call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see what he says. One of them is his. One is mine.

SAVIDGE: In fact, in all of the deals the team paid less than the asking price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We can do $1050.

SAVIDGE: The producer boxes the guns in their carrying cases and heads for the door. Again, no names, no I.D., no paperwork, not even a receipt. Total time at the gun show, 45 minutes. $1,650 spent. Three semiautomatic handguns purchased.

Incidentally, because there's no paper trail, none of these weapons can be traced to the buyer. Later, the same day, in Greenville, South Carolina, and it's the biggest show of the five our team attended. After wandering the floor, our producer spots this gentleman carrying a semiautomatic on his shoulder. Asking price, $1,200.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The strap doesn't come with it. That's my .22.


I just moved it over.

SAVIDGE: The Bushmaster X.M. 15, as its known, is a semiautomatic only civilian version of the M-16 U.S. military rifle first introduced in the Vietnam War and still used by U.S. troops today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have it out in the car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's out in the car. I just didn't want to carry it all around. I brought it to a gun show a couple weeks ago in Columbia, and the case this big and bulky and there were so many people in there I kept banging people, and that's why I didn't bring it with me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Either one, the 223 or the 5.56.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any way you'd go down 50 bucks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I can go down $50.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. You want to walk out and I'll pay you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. Let's do it.

SAVIDGE: The seller takes our offer of $1,150. From first conversation to settling a price takes just 70 seconds.

Out in front of the convention center, the money is exchanged, and the rifle, complete with case, is handed over. Our team walks away with a variation of the same weapon used in the deadly Sandy Hook shooting. Again, no questions asked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the case. And there's the gun. And there's the clip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 50.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Thank you very much.



SAVIDGE: We should make clear that there were three instances, one in each state, where the team was asked for I.D., including during this potential sale in Tennessee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you from?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I have to have a Tennessee license?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to have a Tennessee license for a private seller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you sure do, you do.

I know he would like to sell it.

SAVIDGE: Without proof of residency, the seller refuses the deal and our team walks away.

Our total weekend weapon haul is three semiautomatic handguns with extra magazines and one semiautomatic rifle with a 30-round magazine. Total spent $2,800. All done without showing any identification, without filling out a single form, not even so much as a name exchanged. The team now has a small arsenal which can never be traced.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


MALVEAUX: Powerful piece as the Senate votes on guns. Passionate rock star, Ted Nugent, is fired up as well. He's speaking out tonight at 7:00 eastern on "Erin Burnett Out Front."

Coming up, she says Jodi Arias is a victim of domestic violence. Now she's being harassed online over her expert opinion.


JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: Are you saying that Mr. Alexander, when he was speaking with the defendant, was in the same relationship as you were with a defendant when you were speaking to her?

If you were in my group, I would ask you to take a time-out, Mr. Martinez.



MALVEAUX: It's been a really violent reaction online to a witness who has been on the stand all week. This is the Jodi Arias trial. And Arias, of course, she's on trial in Phoenix, accused of murdering her boyfriend. Well, there's been a domestic violence expert on the stand.

I want to bring in our legal analyst, Joey Jackson, to talk about, who is this woman and why are people so angry with what she is saying?

JOEY JACKSON, ATTORNEY & CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Alyce LaViolette. Here's the issue. There's really three, I think. People are vested in this trial. They have been following closely. She testified --


JACKSON: -- about this witness. The defendant testified for 18 days. People know what's going on here. And when you have an expert witness that, number one, says things that are counterintuitive, people seem to get the sense that she's making Jodi Arias the victim. I think people, in general, have the sense that Travis Alexander's the one dead here. So when you have an expert saying something you disagree with, that creates a reaction.

Number two, there's an issue of whether there's any bias here. I think the prosecutor's been really going after her to demonstrate, hey, why are you apologizing to Jodi Arias upon meeting her? Why were you sending her books? So is there bias?

And three, and more importantly, is the argument that she's having with Juan Martinez. Answer the question. So a lot of what she's been saying is, well, do you want the truth or yes or no? I would put you on a time-out, Mr. Martinez. That's not appropriate.

MALVEAUX: Arguing with the prosecutor on the stand.

JACKSON: Correct. That's not appropriate. You're there as an expert witness. Give your point of view. Some things are going to favor your side. Other things are going to hurt you. Give admissions to it. Answer yes or no. I think the affect is not appropriate. And I think people at home are having a hard time finding out why, on re-direct and direct, are you answering questions so nicely, so fluidly, but on cross, you're evasive? That's a problem. And I think it's causing massive disturbance among the public.

MALVEAUX: Now, Jodi Arias is a woman who stabbed her boyfriend 26 times, shot him, the whole bit.

JACKSON: Oh, boy.

MALVEAUX: So could it be that people don't believe she actually is a victim in this case of domestic violence? That's why they're having a harsh reaction to this woman?

JACKSON: Exactly. That's the whole point. Remember, this expert witness, you don't need in trials many times an expert to tell you what your eyes see, right? And what you're hearing.

MALVEAUX: Some of the tweets coming in here. This one, "I hope selling your soul to the devil was worth it. Your career is over." This one saying, "Retweet if you believe Alyce LaViolette is a fraud and embarrassment to the mental health profession."

Why the vitriol? JACKSON: Because of those issues. When you're evasive in answering questions -- you know what, listen, any expert can testify. It's their right to testify and do the best assessment they can in any particular case. But when you're arguing with the prosecutor, evading answering questions, and giving testimony that many people think is really not correct based upon -- forgetting about an expert, we've seen the trial, we know what's going on, says the public, who's really glued to this at home. And we think, Madame Expert, that your assessment differs from what we're seeing. I think they're expressing that, as is their right. Just like whenever we say something, the tweets come in, the Facebook comes in, we're all held accountable --


JACKSON: We're all being held accountable for what we say and what we do. She's being held accountable by the public, who's riveted on this case.

MALVEAUX: We're going to see more of you "After Dark." You want to give us shameless --



JACKSON: Sure, the shameless pitch, HLN "After Dark," where we give our bold accusations, is Jodi a stalker or not a stalker? Tonight, 10:00 p.m.


JACKSON: Oh, yes. It will be a lot of fun.

MALVEAUX: I'll be watching.


MALVEAUX: Thank you, Joey. Appreciate it.

JACKSON: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Police say they were abducted by their parents and taken to Cuba. Now the parents are behind bars. The boys are back with the grandparents in Florida. Many of us wanted to know, of course, were the kids OK. But was it appropriate for the grandparents to put them in front of the cameras this morning? Tell us what you think. We're going to have a conversation about that, up next.


MALVEAUX: So this story, two young Florida boys allegedly taken by their parents to Cuba in a kidnapping. Well, they are now back home, reunited with the grandparents. So these are the grandparents, Patricia and Bob Hauser. They talked about the children's ordeal and they held this news conference that was on the front lawn. Brought out the boys. So this one is 2, Chase; 4-year-old Cole. There you see them before the cameras. The grandparents said they were not aware that they were allegedly abducted. So listen to this.


PATRICIA HAUSER, GRANDPARENT OF CHASE AND COLE: They have been told everyone heard about their sailboat trip to Cuba, another country, as they called it, and their airplane ride back to America. And that everyone wants to take their picture. We ask that there be no mention of any events of the past week.


MALVEAUX: So we're bringing in Kyra Phillips to talk about this. She has an HLN show, "Raising America."

And so, Kyra, honestly, this caused so much debate when we watched this live. A lot of us and the team were like, wow, look at those kids, they're so cute and adorable. Everyone wanted to know, were they OK, because the parents obviously had some trouble with the law. They're now back with the grandparents. And then others, some moms, were really angry and upset with the grandparents. Do you think it was appropriate how the grandparents managed handled this?

KYRA PHILLIPS, HOST, RAISING AMERICA: This was a big issue for us on "Raising America," right? We talk about the news story through the parents' perspective.

For me, I was furious. I mean I was there on the set anchoring the Elian Gonzalez story. I remember what the little boy went through. It was like sheer panic. He could have been smiling, waiving, thinking it was kind of cool. That poor kid was played like such a political pawn. And you saw what it did to them.

You know, I look at these two little boys and they're so adorable, waving, holding hands. That's a lock to take at 2 and 4 with all these cameras, and not for a second do these kids thing they were on sum adventure. Let's be real. Their parents talked openly about being on an Armageddon. Police were called in. There were narcotics, weapons.


MALVEAUX: What do you think happened? They're in the grandparents' custody.


MALVEAUX: This is what the grandparents decided to do. Should they be in the grandparents' custody? Do you think they're so irresponsible that somebody has to talk to the grandparents about how to raise these two?

PHILLIPS: That's a great point. When you hear the grandparents, learn about the grandparents, they seem like a sweet elderly couple who love the kids. They're funny, entertaining. The grandparents are probably sweet as pie, and they're going crazy because their kids are not all together. So I think that there's not really a clear understanding about what -- they're not getting good advice.

MALVEAUX: How should they have handled this? Is there any way the grandparents could have protected them from the media? Let's be honest. There's going to be crews, media getting shots of them. The kids are OK. We see the children. What should they have done, do you think?

PHILLIPS: Put out a photo where they're all together. They're fine. Don't parade them in front of the cameras. They're going to grow up learning about their parents and it's going to be heart-wrenching. They're going to see this and say, Grandma and Grandpa, why didn't you protect us? Now that they gave them a little, they're going to want more. Let's see. They brought them out. Let's see what else they do. It's over. Let the kids try to get back to a normal life.

MALVEAUX: Kyra, thank you, as always.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

MALVEAUX: We're going to have you on more often.

PHILLIPS: Good. I'm glad.


MALVEAUX: -- family.

The boys' parents appeared in court for the first time, Josh and Sharyn Hakken. They're charged with several crimes, including kidnapping and child neglect. Investigators say the father, Josh Hakken, tied up their grandmother in their home and then snatched the boys. They claims he then met up with his wife, sailed to Cuba, as we mentioned. And today, this judge appointed a public defender to represent this couple after they said they could not afford a lawyer.

And, of course, Kyra tackles all things regarding family on "Raising America" on HLN. You've got to watch that.

And he hoped that the fish would be biting. Whoa. He got a lot more than that.


Yes, a shark crashing his party, up next.


MALVEAUX: In Augusta, Georgia, former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, wearing the green jacket at the historic Masters Golf Tournament today. She joins South Carolina business woman, Darla Moore, as the first female members of the Augusta National Gold Club. President Bill Payne welcomed them to the exclusive club, calling their membership awesome.

And you're about to see what happens when Mother Nature throws you a wild card. Check it out. (LAUGHTER)

An extreme fisherman suddenly wishes he had a much bigger boat. Watch.




MALVEAUX: We're talking about a shark. A shark that was right behind the guy. He kind of freaked out a little bit. He said he was about to actually stick his hands into the water, and he's pretty thankful he didn't.


BRUMAGHIM: The shark made a circle, came around, and ate the kawakawa under my boat, hit my kayak. And then it kind of hit me what happened and then I had a reaction to all of that.


Yes, you get the shivers a bit on it, just thinking about the whole thing.


MALVEAUX: The shivers. I'd be a little more than shivery. This happened on the western shore of Oahu. He said the shark actually let him keep two more fish he caught in the same spot. The guy stuck around, was still fishing. Unbelievable.

That's it for me. Brooke Baldwin is up next. She's going to have the latest on the severe weather that is across the country now, including a tornado in Mississippi. Up next.