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tv   CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera  CNN  August 10, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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thrown into question, of course, ana. >> salma abdul aziz thank you for that reporting. you you are live in the cnn newsroom. i'm ana cabrera in new york. public and political outrage is growing at this hour over news that convicted pedophile and convicted sex trafficker jeffrey epstein took his own life in a jail cell this morning as he awaited a federal trial of sex trafficking of dozens was underaged girls. senator ben sasse goes further and he sent a letter demanding to the investigation. obviously heads must roll. also today, attorney general, the former deputy attorney general rod rosenstein tweeted
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this. pedophiles are at high risk of suicide. it happened in several of my maryland cases when defends were released on bail. detained pedophiles require special attention. stopping people from harming themselves is difficult. cnn crime and justice reporter shimon prokupecz. we learned epstein was taken off suicide watch in late july, why? >> reporter: that is the critical question now, ana, what happened? it was after that first incident that we've all reported on in july on july 23rd where he was found injured in his jail cell with marks on his neck. it is after that time that he was placed on suicide watch. for whatever reason the psychologists, and the staff at the jail decided by the end of the month, in just a week, to take him off the suicide watch. they interviewed him. they almost on a daily basis, we are told, interacted with him. they assessed him on a daily basis. they communicated with him and they did all sorts of things
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that you would expect psychologists to do in this kind of a situation and at some point towards the end of the month just a week after he had injured himself in his jail cell, they decided that they were going to take him off suicide watch and they placed him back in the special housing unit of the jail. he was segregated from the general population because of the nature of this case, because of the publicity that this case has received and they put him in a special housing unit and it is there, we are told, this morning, early this morning that he was found unconscious, just about 6:30 in the morning and about ten minutes later he was taken to the hospital and that is where he was pronounced dead, ana, but that is the big question, ana, what happened in that week? why did the officials at the jail decide to take him off suicide watch? >> we know, jeffrey epstein was willing to pony up $100 million in bail to get him out of jail
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and it doesn't take rocket science to know that this guy is desperate for a way out in where does this leave the investigation? will prosecutors go after epstein associates who tried to procure these girls? >> they said in a statement the southern district of new york, jeffrey berman who has been very active in this investigation. he is the man who is running that office, the southern district of new york. he showed up at every court hearing at the arraignment, at the updates. he would come himself. it's rare that you see a u.s. attorney appear in court during an investigation, during the pending case. that's how significant this investigation has been for the u.s. attorney's office in new york. that's how significant it has been for him as the u.s. attorney and he issued a statement today saying that this is not over. obviously, the case against jeffrey epstein, that's done with, but it's a conspiracy case. anyone else tied to this conspiracy should be worried.
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his stapltements that the investigation will continue as it relates to the conspiracy. we have yet to know who has been cooperating in this investigation. the complaint, though that the u.s. attorney's office puts out, the information is that they have had people cooperating, it would seem. they don't name them and we don't know enough yet in terms of who else was involved that they're looking at, but it's very clear based on the statement from the u.s. attorney this morning that they do intend to pursue other charges if they exist and that this investigation is not over and that is significant certainly for the victims in this case and for anyone else who may have helped jeffrey epstein and anyone else who may have hid these horrific crimes that he committed. all of that is still going to go on. that investigation is still going to go on by the u.s. attorney's office, ana. >> okay. it's not over, then. shimon prokupecz, thank you for that. epstein apparently killed himself less than 24 hours after thousands of pages of revealing
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documents were unsealed in the case from an epstein accuser over epstein's former associates. the defamation suit was filed by virginia dufree who said she was under aged when epstein allegedly kept her as a sex slave for years, flying her around the world, she alleges to have sex with powerful men and among the men she claimed she was trafficked to have sex with was britain's prince andrew in 2001. a buckingham palace spokesperson denies her claim saying in response, this relates to proceedings in the united states to which the duke of york is not a party. any suggestion of impropriety with underaged minors is categorically untrue. she was instructed to have sex with former new mexico governor bill richardson, a spokeswoman calling the allegation completely false and saying, quote, to be clear in governor richardson's limited interactions with mr. epstein, he never saw him in the presence of young or underaged girls.
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governor richardson has never been to mr. epstein's residence in the virgin islands. governor richardson has never met ms. giuffre. epstein was een arrested and facing charges. brown began investigating epstein in 2017, and she refused to stop chasing the story. she has been relentless in exposing epstein and finding justice for his victims and julie k. brown of the miami herald joins us now. julie, thank you. just hours before epstein's apparent suicide there was that massive document dump in this case and we just went through some of these accusations that were revealed. do you think it's a coincidence that epstein's death happened so soon after the release of those documents? >> i don't think anything in this case is a coincidence. i think everything that's happened happened in the order and as the evidence came out. i'm sure that he could feel
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things kind of closing in around him. he had known, i'm sure, for quit a while that these -- that the release of these documents was imminent and you know, that they were going to be pretty brutal, and they were. i mean, they are. they tell a story about his sex trafficking operation and how he and other people really went out of their way to prey upon vulnerable girls and young women for years, you know. i'm sure that he felt like this was going to be a really hard one to beat. >> julie, earlier i spoke with mike fiston. he's a private investigator any and worked with epstein's accusers. he said epstein lived his life not in a 4x4 cell and he knew if he indulged in the illegal behavior and he became a witness
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against these people or he knew he was going to get convicted and spend the rest of his life in a jail cell and there was no way this individual knowing who he is and how he's lived was going to do that. let me ask you, you spent the last two years investigating epstein. would he be the type of person that would have killed himself without going to the fed and saying i'll give you the information on all others involved without going through a plea deal? >> it's hard to say what was going through his head. i think probably what would have happened, he wouldn't have had a choice about that. i think that other people around him were probably going to cooperate or are probably cooperating. so even if he had started to name names or if he decided not to name names, it sort of got to the point now where the case was bigger than he is, and you know, especially with u.s. attorney berman in new york. he is really determined, i think, to take this case as far
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as he can take it and hopefully find justice for these girls and you know, when you have a prosecutor like that, that is so dedicated that's sort of the opposite of what happened here in florida. they hid this case. they tried to sweep it under the rug here and berman, from the outset was right out there in front of the cameras announcing that he was going to really do everything in his power to find justice for these victims. >> and when epstein was first arrested you said there were powerful people sweating. do you think those powerful people are breathing a sigh of relief today or based on what we're learning about the ongoing investigation and do you think they're actually more concerned? >> they're not breathing a sigh of relief. i know i wouldn't be. this is serious, very serious, and you know, i just think that everybody who even, you know, looked the other way, even people who weren't involved should really take -- do some
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soul-searching and you know, i just think, you know, we'll see where the evidence leads, but there were plenty of other people that knew about him and there were plenty of people that made a lot of money off of helping him. >> what does this mean for epstein's victims? >> well, you know, i think probably today they're not sure. you know, i think they're still processing what this means and you know, they're very, mobi eml and i spoke with several of them this morning and they're emotional and they're crying. they're angry. they feel like they've been robbed to some degree of the justice they've fought for all these years and they felt so close because they never thought and even i never thought that he would have been. people said all of the time he's never going to get arrested, you know. he's never going to get arrested
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and he got arrested and the charges seemed very serious and it looks like there will be a good case made against him or there was going to be a good case made against him. so i think that, you know, i think that they're hoping that maybe they can find another justice by helping to -- hoping to see the prosecution of other people who helped him. >> julia k. brown, thank you so much for joining us and thank you for your dogged reporting. it's been really impressive. what does jeffrey epstein's death now mean for the investigation into his alleged actions? we'll talk more about that. there are still a lot of questions about what he's accused of doing, who else might have been involved and we'll talk live with a former federal prosecutor next and later, democrats run for example president lay out their plans for gun reform. i'm ana cabrera. don't go anywhere.
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did that happen and i want -- i would like to see the written documentation that is supposed to be created when that happens. so there's going to be a memo or document somewhere that will explain why that took place. i suspect that memo will be very carefully kr carefully scrutinized in the days to come. >> given his status, you have represented other clients that have taken their own lives in prison. how would you have expected him to be treated behind bars? >> well, i would have expected a lot of attention to be paid to mr. epstein. here is a man who is a very high-profile defendant in a facility that has housed many high-profile defendants. he's one of accused of child exploitation often are victims of violence and they have statistically a higher rate of suicide so you would think there would be more attention paid to him for that reason, as well and obviously we have this prior incident that occurred, you
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know, and would appear to be an attempted suicide by mr. epstein. so a whole lot of reasons why wye would expect a lot of attention was paid to him. it's not only a headscratcher. it raises a lot of disturbing questions and that's why everyone, i think, is very concerned about this. >> the attorney for virginia giuffre and other accusers had this response. this is the end of one chapter, and only one chapter of the battle to bring sex traffickers to justice. jeffrey epstein could not act and could not have done what he did alone. justice demands that those who acted with him also be held to account. renato, how does epstein's death impact the ongoing investigations and these outstanding lawsuits? >> great question. so as to the investigation, one issue is that there's no longer anyone for his accomplices to flip against. now the focus will be on his accomplices and really the question is will there be
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sufficient evidence to charge any of them. with him alive there is going to be a public criminal trial. there are a lot of witnesses being prepared for that and witnesses being assembled for that and now the question for the southern district is will there be enough evidence to charge for these accomplices. as to the civil cases, one big issue is that previously, they would have tried to seek the testimony of epstein. epstein would have to take the fifth almost certainly and if that happened, they could use that taking the fifth against him in a civil proceeding. now that is gone. they'll have to make do without his testimony and there's still obviously an opportunity for a lot of big revelations out of the civil cases and we've had those already in the civil cases thus far and big names have been mentioned and evidence uncovered and it's going to be a more narrow and longer road for victims to seek justice. >> we talked about how hundreds of pages of additional court documents were unsealed in a new york federal court and they contained new details of alleged
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sexual abuse not only committed by epstein and they implicate several of his associates. we talked about naming names and some of them are big-named politicians and a prince. what does this mean for those people specifically? does this death have an impact on potential i guess litigation against them potentially? >> i think that some of those people they're not out of the woods yet, some of the names that we've heard a lot about. they are still going to potentially be named in private suits and they could still be potential witnesses in some suits and some are breathing easier now that they know that they won't have to potentially be called for witnesses in a criminal trial, alan dershowitz and other individuals that were associated with this i think have to be breathing easier, although i'm sure no one is happy about the death of anyone. >> attorney general william barr's reportedly livid. in a statement he said that epstein's death raises serious
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questions. he is also saying he will work with the inspector general who is opening a separate investigation. how do you see that investigation differing from the fbi investigation? will they be looking into different things? >> well, i think what the oig will be looking at is potential misconduct or malfeasance or a lack of diligence on the part of doj personnel. that is, i think, going to be the focus of the oig investigation and the oig is sort of a quasi-independent body within the justice department and well-respected non-partisan organization and that said, it's not a full-blown criminal inquiry, and i do think the fbi investigation into this will determine whether or not there's any public corruption which i think is a question that is raised by this, whether or not a guard or someone else was potentially influenced by jeffrey epstein given, of course, his influence of state guards during his prior criminal
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sentence. i will say, you know, it -- unfortunately, i'm sure the attorney general is upset, as well because as you know, ana, there's been a lot of speculation and conspiracy theories going around and concerns about whether or not, you know, the president or the attorney general benefitted from this. i'm sure that this has got to be very frustrating to the attorney general barr. >> renato marioti, thank you. in the wake of mass shootings in el paso and dayton, democratic candidates for president are laying out their gun control policies and they've gathered today in des moines, iowa. what they're saying next. you are live in the cnn newsroom. just ok? (in dutch) tell him we need this merger. (in dutch) it's happening..! just ok is not ok.
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today marks one week since 22 people were shot and killed while shopping at walmart. just hours from now will mark one week since nine more were shot and killed in a restaurant and bar district in dietoayton, ohio. these two back-to-back have left the country shaken and also determined to create change. we've heard chants of "do something." we've seen some republicans change their stance on gun control, and even senate majority leader mitch mcconnell who spent the past year or so blocking legislation has said the senate will consider new gun control legislation. he is refusing, however, to bring congress back into session
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early. today, more than a dozen presidential candidates are in iowa speaking at a gun control forum. and cnn's arlette saenz is live. >> reporter: over the course of the day you've heard of 16 of the presidential candidates here in person at this gun reform forum and really, they've been laying out their vision for how to solve this issue relating to gun violence in this country. senator kamala harris was one of those lawmakers who just recently spoke and listen to this new line that she had talking about president trump and that -- those shootings that occurred just about a week ago. >> people say to me did donald trump cause those -- those folks to be killed? no, of course, he didn't pull the trigger, but he's certainly tweeting out the ammunition. >> reporter: that's a similar
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message that's been relayed by other democratic presidential candidates who have said that the president's words have sparked some of this animus across the country and there was a very emotional moment just a short while ago with andrew yang when a woman asked a question and noted that her young child was killed by a stray bullet. take a look at that moment that happened just a short while ago. >> i have a 6 and 3-year-old boy -- and i was imagining -- i was imagining it was one of them that got shot and the other saw it -- that scene that she described, i'm sorry. it's very, very affecting. you're right that when there's a gun in the household, you're more likely to have a child get shot or the owner get shot than to kill, let's say, an intruder
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into the house. those are just numbers and those are just the facts. >> so there were clearly some very emotional moments here at this forum as these democratic presidential candidates are trying to relay how they will try to solve and stem this crisis of gun violence in the country, ana? >> yeah. it affects all of us. a lot of parents are feeling the way andrew yang expressed himself. thank you for covering this for us. former city mayor michael bloomberg founded the gun group behind the forum and i asked him about the possibility that u.s. gun laws could change? >> the nra does not have the power that they had before by any stretch of the imagination and it sort of defies logic why the president and mitch mcconnell seem to still be somewhat influenced by the nra. >> more of my interview with mayor bloomberg when cnn "newsroom" returns.
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cynicism or skepticism about anything being done when it comes to gun violence, was there a crowd of people who fled times square this week because a motorcycle backfired and their first thought was that it was someone shooting. what did you think when you saw that video of people running for their lives because they heard a loud sound? >> well, it's not unexpected that when you read about the chaos that has been going on elsewhere in this country that your first thought might be i wonder if it's happening here. i think it's also true that we tend to overdramatize that. not everybody in times square ran, and it was one bang and it didn't sound like a rifle bullet or everything from what i've read. that's what people said. they thought it was a car or bike backfiring. so let's not say that the whole world in america is ready to
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commit suicide. >> no. >> because they think they're going to get killed. that's not true. >> it is tru people are on edge and people are scared and that is the reality for a lot of people who think it can happen anywhere. >> think that's true, but what do you mean a lot? what percentage of the public do you think is worried? i don't get that when i talk to people. i think they understand that it's a dangerous world, but if you live in cities with good police departments that are in control you're pretty safe and if you live, for example, in new york and in new york city the crime rate is so low it's almost impossible to measure compared to any other city. we still have crime in new york. a little over 300 people get killed every year and that is a very negligible number compared to any place else and so where you live should impact your ability or your interest in jumping or getting out of the way. if you live in some of these cities with a very high crime rate and you hear a gun shot,
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what sounds to you like a gun shot it probably is, and if you live in a city with a low crime rate it probably is not. >> i don't want to down play the fear, if it can happen at a walmart and if it can happen at an elementary school, if it can happen at a concert, at a bar, and all of these places where we have mass shootings and the feeling is it can happen anywhere even in cities without a high crime rate and that is why people are so jumpy and that is perhaps why there is some new sense of urgency to accomplish something when it comes to gun control or gun violence safety. >> i agree with you. there is a new sense of urgency and it's wonderful that it's happening because maybe we will get the legislation we need, and if you do, your coverage of these events would have been helpful, but it's also true that we live in a society where there's a small number of people
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who have access to guns, and if we could take away their access to guns we would all be a lot safer. >> so let me ask you about that specifically because in the cases of el paso and dayton, background checks wouldn't necessarily have prevented those shootings because the two people are either bay had the crime or in el paso's case, they passed background checks. so what would be the solution in those types of cases. >> there is nothing that is going to guarantee 100% safety in life. life isn't that way, but background checks would reduce dramatically the number of suicides and significantly the number of murders. >> red flag laws don't always make a difference, but if you say, one life. isn't it worth it? >> i think you have to be
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careful here because nothing works all of the time. you can if the public gets behind their city government and they have the police department come down the right crate such that most people won't worry about it. if if you look at noxious 20 to 30 miles away and the crime is not one of the things that they worry about generally. >> there is overwhelming support for gun control measures and recent polling shows 94% of americans support universal background checks and that includes nine in ten republicans and nine in ten gun owners and more than half of americans support a ban on assault weapons. >> correct. >> we talk also how the nra has so much power over the president and others who are afraid for their political future for acting in some capacity on gun control. should they not be worrying
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about everything else like the 2018. >> i supported 24 congressional candidates who were good by my definition good on guns and good on climate. 21 of them won and beat in almost every case an a-rated republican -- an a-rated by the nra. so that just goes to show you that the nra does not have the power and not everybody is running away from them, and now you're starting to see more and more republican congressmen and senators saying i don't want to be on the wrong side of this issue. if you survey nra members as you yourself said, the nra members want background checks and the nra does not have the power that they had before by any stretch of the imagination as to yet president and mitch minute connell seem to been flensed by
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the nra. >> i want to get your rae action from the suicide by epstein, whafrss your reaction when you heard of nudz. i help sen since 3 years ago and he was in the federal penitentiary or federal yale and they'll have to do an investigation and see what happened and i'm sure they'll do it. >> thanks to mayor michael bloomberg for taking the time to join us. >> the man accused of opening fire at a walmart admits he was targeting mexicans. >> plus, the connection between gun laws and fatal shootings. your live in the cnn "newsroom."
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el paso has now joined the group no one wants to join.
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parkland strong. vegas strong. orlando strong. sandy hook strong. the list goes on. it's the call for resiliency at a time of unimaginable grief that follows being victimized by a gunman intent on killing as many people as possible. as of one week today el paso strong. cnn's natasha chen joins us now from el paso and natash, el paso has to deal with the suspect's alleged confession to police that he targeted mexicans. what are you hearing from people there? >> yeah, that's right. absolutely, ana. so when they say el paso strong here at the memorial behind me or at the march today they are talking also about responding to that, responding to racism and hatred and saying they will not take that. enough is enough. the memorial behind me has grown significantly over the past week from my right to my left and you can see there's new green
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fencing that's gone around the crime scene and around the parking lot of this walmart. so people are still coming through at a steady pace, paying their respects and this morning there was a march from a downtown park all of the way to a courthouse where presidential candidate beto o'rourke marched with them and congresswoman barbara lee. they talked about this hatred and racism. this notion that this shooter allegedly told police that he drove all of the way from the dallas area here to west texas, about a ten-hour drive, just to target mexicans and this, of course, hits very strongly with this community that is majority hispanic. i want to also point out that i came to cover this story from the mississippi i.c.e. raids where i spoke to teenagers there in mississippi whose parents were detained and those kids were very vocal in telling me, referencing this shooting when talking about that incident. they said this is now personal. they feel targeted and they wanted people to know that their
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parents and immigrants came to this country, work hard and don't harm anyone and they contrasted that with the shooters that they see who they say are from the u.s., who are actually injuring others. so, ana, the ripple effects of this el paso shooting is being felt in many parts of this country right you in. >> all right. el paso strong. we are with them today. thank you, in tnatasha. had the's not forget dayton, ohio. today the first funerals for the victims there. beatrice warren-curtis, derrick fudge, nicholas cumer, logan turner, monica brickhouse and saeed saleh, more funerals are scheduled for monday. >> america's in the spotlight after two mass shootings in just the past week in el paso and dayton, people all across the nation are having intense debates on gun violence and what to do about it. >> do something!
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we're hearing lots of talk from washington politicians and some proposing significant changes to u.s. gun laws and president trump is weighing in with plenty to say, but what's the potential impact of firearms' legislation when it comes to actually reducing gun violence and gun deaths. with us now is dr. eric fleegler and an emergency room physician at boston's children's hospital. so glad you could join us. you've studied the associations between state gun laws and gun deaths. you have found states with the most gun laws have fewer gun deaths. just how strong of a connection is there? is it enough to say more gun control borks? i think there is a very strong relationship between both the relationship of the number of gun laws that there are, and the number of guns that are owned in the state and the fatalities that occur. in the united states there are in 2018 there were up to 40,000
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deaths from firearms and 22,000 suicides and 14,000 homicides and we see states that have the most laws are most states that have the fewest fatalities and approximately 40% fewer. >> wow. we're hearing a lot of talk in washington about universal background checks and the house, we know, already passed a bill requiring background checks on all gun sales including those at gun shows and with online retailers, but the senate hasn't done anything with it. there does seem to be bipartisan support also for red flag laws which would enable family members who are concerned to get a court order preventing a potentially dangerous relative from getting a gun. do you think those proposals could significantly impact the nation's gun mortality rate? >> there are dozens of different types of firearm laws. the ones that i thought would probably make the biggest difference are the ones that you mentioned and they have the universal firearm background checks and somewhere in the united states between 30% and
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40% of gun sales occur outside of the system and that's obviously a huge hole. laws removing firearms from people who are dangerous including people involved in dommest i domestic violence and that's a way to reduce fatalities and how they're stored are laws when it comes to making a difference when it comes with fatalities related to children. >> we've talked about a how a universal background check law would not have stopped the el paso and dayton mass shootings. is there any state law that might help in those situations? >> it's a very challenging situation. we already have in the united states approximately 350 million guns and we have approximately 15 million automatic military-style semi-automatic military-style rifles. so none of the laws will prevent those from being present, but laws that are required about how people store them and how they're resold and i think those
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are all laws that could potentially make the difference. in addition, the laws as you mentioned such as the red flag laws that say hey, there is an individual that is suggesting they want to harm someone orwhi an important part of the equation. >> there are three state laws associated with lower mortality rates. universal background checks. ammunition background checks. identification requirements for firearms. you say you can't be sure there's a direct cause and effect, but how do you explain the connection? >> the relationship is kind of a triangle. there are the laws. there are the number of guns available in the state itself. then there are the fatalities. we know that states that have the most guns are also the states that have the highest levels of killings.
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states that have the fewest laws have the most guns. while we can't always prove one thing leads to the next, the data suggests if we had more of a universal approach to firearm laws that we would see reductions in fatalities, not just homicides, but suicide as well. >> thanks for bringing us the facts and the research you're doing to shed light on this discussion. we're live in the cnn news room. we'll be right back. cinex 12 ho. the bio layer tablet immediately releases to thin and loosen excess mucus. and lasts for 12 hours. mucinex 12 hour. so, every day, we put our latest technology and unrivaled network to work. the united states postal service makes more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country.
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welcome back. as we enter the hottest month of what forecasters expect to be a perilous fire season. thousands of people in california are dealing with the results of the deadly camp fire. this cnn hero was inspired to do something to help. meet woody. >> as news of the fires broke and what happened to people and how many people were impacted, that's when it hit home this is a really big deal. tens of thousands lost their homes. entire families were sleeping in their cars in parking lots. it was total chaos. today the majority are still displaced. when we hand over the title and the keys of an rv to someone who doesn't have a home any longer, such a powerful thing to provide
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welcome to unfiltered where tonight we address the united states of hate. it's been one week since 31 people were killed in mass shootings in el paso and dayton. it's worth pointing out those two shootings followed another one week earlier in california where three people including a 6-year-old and 13-year-old were killed by an angry guy with a gun. amidst all this many americans are calling for more gun laws. democrats have offered universal background checks, to raising the age

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