As America nears the one week mark since an unthinkable school shooting shocked the nation with the harsh reality of 20 dead children, on Wednesday evening "Piers Morgan Tonight" produced a very special edition of it's program, filling the studio with a live audience for a town hall style show.
Seated in the center of the room, host Piers Morgan welcomed, amongst others, Christiane Amanpour to share her unique expertise on firearms, specifically the types used in the Newtown, Conn. massacre and other recent mass shootings:
"You've been in war zones all over the world. It is as near to an M-16 machine gun, assault rifle, as you can get, isn't it?" Morgan asked his guest, CNN's Chief International Correspondent.
"You know, it is. And I can visualize the state of affairs in those classrooms in Sandy Hook because I've seen that on the battlefield, in Sarajevo and Somalia, what's going on in Syria right now. And it is about those particular weapons," Amanpour revealed.
"I look out and I realize that two years ago, I conducted a town hall just like this in the aftermath of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of those people around here in Tucson," said the host of CNN's "Amanpour," as she addressed an audience full of survivors, and relatives of those killed, in various United States shootings, including Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Tucson. "Some of the same people who were there are here today, victims' families, all people crying out for at least - at the very least, a dialogue, a sensible, rational conversation, a national discussion where we're not afraid to call it like it is."
Continuing to focus on the Tucson shooting of January 2011, Morgan spoke to audience member Daniel Hernandez, who was able to provide unique, first-hand insight from the events of that day:
"The other thing that I think is really important to raise is the reason why Jared Loughner only killed six people, the reason why only 13 were injured, was because he had to reload the weapon. He had a semi-automatic weapon, but he had an extended clip that had 30 rounds," Hernandez explained. "The time that he stopped was when someone grabbed that clip when he was trying to reload. There's no reason you need 30 rounds in a magazine."
Also joining Wednesday's live program was Amardeep Kaleka, whose father was killed in the Sikh Temple shooting. A gun owner himself, with an ROTC background, he painted a unique picture as to the design and intention behind military grade weapons:
"Those guns aren't meant for protection, they are meant for annihilation. To deter somebody is quite easy," Kaleka explained, using his late dad as an example. "You can deter somebody with a knife like my father did, he wrestled this guy with a knife, a butter knife, and that guy immediately left the building."
Watch the clips, and listen to the interview, as Amanpour, Hernandez, and Kaleka all further explain what they describe as unnecessary dangers associated with assault weapons, and the legislative steps that need to be taken to eliminate such American mass shootings in the future.
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