As part of a very special edition of "Piers Morgan Tonight," on Wednesday evening the program welcomed a live audience, as well as a handful of informed, invested and influential guests, to continue a conversation on guns in America.
In the aftermath of the unimaginable tragedy that left 20 children dead within the walls of Sandy Hook Elementary School, Piers Morgan invited both Steve Dulan and John Lott to share their perspective on the call for increased gun legislation.
A believer in the concept that firearms can promote safety, Dulan offered his perspective:
"I've had conversations with individuals who've saved lives with guns," said the Attorney for the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners. "More than one of the folks who have come through my class have saved lives with guns, and in fact, semi-automatic guns. They have protected themselves, and their loved ones, so we look at it as guns save lives, also."
As the town hall style program continued, Lott – the author of "More Guns, Less Crime" – reengaged with Morgan on a debate they'd taken up on multiple occasions previously:
"Every place, that guns have been banned, murder rates have gone up. You can not point to one place – whether it's Chicago, or whether it's D.C., or whether it's been England, or whether it's been Jamaica..."
As the man seated in the front row of the audience continued to list cities and countries, Morgan quickly cut him off: FULL POST
NOTE: This live blog is now closed. Thanks very much to everyone who participated in the conversation. To review the event, you can read what happened in the archive below.
Welcome to this evening's "Piers Morgan Tonight" live blog. Digital Producer Jason Kurtz will moderate. Follow the conversation, share your comments, pose your questions, and check back often for updates.
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Please join us this evening for a very special edition of "Piers Morgan Tonight," as the program invites a live audience, and a handful of intelligent, influential and invested guests, to continue a conversation on guns in America.
Less than a week removed from the horrific tragedy that left 20 children dead within the walls of their Sandy Hook Elementary School, tonight Piers Morgan welcomes Christiane Amanpour, Deepak Chopra, and Cory Booker, along with guests effected by shootings from Columbine to the Wisconsin temple shooting to Sandy Hook. We'll also welcome a studio full of impassioned citizens, all charged with debating the role of firearms within society, and potential changes in the nation's regulations.
Tune in at 9 p.m. as "Piers Morgan Tonight" continues our coverage and discussion on this complicated yet critical topic with a very special town hall style program.
And, for an interactive second-screen companion experience that will function alongside tonight's show, follow the conversation on Twitter with our special hashtag #GunsInAmerica, and also on our live blog at piersmorgantonight.com.
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As America deals with the most recent in a series of shocking and tragic gun deaths that have devastated the nation of late, this evening "Piers Morgan Tonight" will air a live edition of the program, covering every facet of Friday's horrific school shooting in Newtown, CT.
Dating as far back as the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords that left six others dead in January of 2011, and the April case of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, firearm legislation has been a polarizing and divisive issue for Piers Morgan and his various guests.
Below, a timeline chronicling various episodes of "Piers Morgan Tonight," during which experts, analysts, and news makers share their various insights and perspectives: FULL POST
In the aftermath of Friday's tragic Newtown, Conn. school shooting, on Tuesday evening "Piers Morgan Tonight" invited a pair of brilliant legal minds to share their perspective on the role of the historical doctrine within the gun debate:
"For a hundred years, the Constitution was interpreted to mean that state militias, essentially state police had a right to bear arms, because that's what the first half of the Second Amendment says," explained CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. "But as of 2008, as a result of years of lobbying and years of Republican appointees to the court, in 2008, the Supreme Court said individuals have a right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. So the law of the land now is that the government is really very limited in how much gun control it could pass, even if it had the political will to do so. It's not clear that it does. But the victories of the Republican party mean that gun control is harder to do in Congress and it's harder to do in the court."
Once a professor of the aforementioned, Alan Dershowitz presented an alternate theory:
"Now, where I disagree with my friend and former student Jeffrey Toobin is I think although the Supreme Court rendered a decision on the Second Amendment, it left open a tremendous amount of room for reasonable regulation," stated the lawyer and political commentator. "I think if Congress has the will to do something today, I believe the courts, with some exceptions, will uphold any reasonable regulation."
As their segment continued, Toobin and Dershowitz referenced potential political ramifications of modifying gun legislation:
"It is political poison in this country to say you're for gun control in about 40 states. I mean, try running for office in Texas and saying you're for gun control. You won't get nominated for dog catcher," noted Toobin. FULL POST
On Tuesday, in a live, emotional interview, Piers Morgan invited John Engel to share his memories of his younger cousin, Sandy Hook victim Olivia Engel.
Though Olivia's parents have chosen to stay away from the extensive media coverage, John reported that they feel the love pouring in from people around the country and the world.
"They've said 'this is tremendously supportive for us to know that we are not alone,'" Engel described.
Engel family friends have reached out with support by creating a Facebook page to support the family as they deal with their six-year-old daughter's death.
As those families impacted by the Newtown, Conn. tragedy attempt to move forward, America has intensified the conversation on firearms. On Tuesday, Engel offered his stance:
"I was uncomfortable with guns before I joined the military," Engel noted. "I slept with an M-16 in my sleeping bag for six months in Iraq. I came away from the war no more comfortable with that weapon, and I have to say that I don't think anybody ever gets comfortable with those weapons."
Engel couldn't leave the program without sending a strong message to all the families watching "Piers Morgan Tonight": FULL POST
Each day, we here at "Piers Morgan Tonight" put together the news you need to know – from what happened last night to what will happen today.
For December 19, 2012 – Obama to lay out steps in gun policy, report on Benghazi attack cites 'systemic failures' and Mark Zuckerberg donates $500 million...