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CNN TONIGHT: Philly D.A.: Second Suspect Arrested In Mass Shooting; Federal Judge Whose Son Was Killed Two Years Ago Calls For Greater Judicial Protections After Former WI Judge Killed; Teacher Describes What Took Place Inside Classroom Where 11 Students Were Killed. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 06, 2022 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Now, nearly a decades later, the Best Defense Foundation, brought World War II veterans back to Normandy, to commemorate the Anniversary. According to the Foundation, about 20,000 people came, to meet the veterans, during a parade, today. Parade was held in a town, liberated by American paratroopers, during the Normandy invasion.

We remember, and thank them.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.


LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Anderson. Thank you. I'm so glad you featured that. And them, in particular.

I am Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.

Listen, the numbers, they are not good. Day after day, you're hearing about the reality, of gun violence, in this country. Now, it's at least 17 dead, more than 80 shot, in 13 mass shootings, all across the nation, just since Friday. You heard me right. Since Friday, as in today, is Monday.

Unbelievably, we're hearing the country is one - is on pace for its worst year ever, of mass shootings. This according to the Gun Violence Archive. That means at least 246 since the beginning of the year. The three-year uptick began in 2019, where there were 417 mass shootings recorded. It's bad enough. In 2020, it jumped to 610. And then, just last year, we were at 692.

But, with all those numbers, there's really only one number, to keep focusing on. I mean, that's if America wants to do something, about these other horrible numbers. And that is the number 10, my friends!

What would persuade 10 Republicans, in the 50/50 split Senate, to sign on legislation that could reduce the number of gun-related deaths, in this country? Now notice, I didn't say "Eliminate all gun violence." The lawyer in me has to manage your expectations, and not try to lead you astray, about what might not be possible, in the number zero. But how about saving as many innocent lives as possible, with some kind of action?

One of the Republican senators, in the bipartisan group of negotiators, who's working, on a potential deal, said it, quite well, this morning.


SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): There is no one thing that will prevent mass killings.

A determined criminal is going to be able to eventually get a gun. I understand that. But that doesn't mean there's nothing we can do to make it harder for that person to get a gun.


COATES: Well said, Pat Toomey! Because he's right. There is no panacea. But just because you can't do everything all at once, doesn't mean lawmakers, in D.C., can't do something. Even if incrementally.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said today, he hopes negotiators will reach a deal, this week.

But he wouldn't actually tell you what proposals in the mix that he himself would personally back. I'm not sure why. I mean, why not show your hand, if you're serious about getting some buy-in, from your own caucus? I mean, you have great influence. And what's the risk of showing your hand when progress could be made?

But we do, however, tonight, know, where the most conservative Democrat, in the Senate, stands. West Virginia's Joe Manchin, often thought of, maybe not to him, but to others, as the thorn in the side of his own caucus, when he goes with the Republican colleagues that is? Well, now that thorn might be the Democrats' rose, by another name.

Listen to what he told our own Manu Raju, earlier today.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Two things that could have prevented this. An age requirement would have prevented an 18-year-old. And basically a red flag law that's basically intended to try to help a person get some mental health.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You think raising the age from 18 to 21, for all gun purchases?

MANCHIN: Well, that's - it's where it is, everything, except for rifles and long run - long guns, right now. Or if it's just for these high-capacity weapons. Whatever they want to do, I am open to, doing something that makes sense. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COATES: "Whatever they want to do, I'm open to, whatever makes sense." I hope that will age well. We'll see, in time, won't we? He's also questioning why anyone needs to own high-powered AR-15 assault weapons. But he does talk about, "Why don't you ask them that question?"

But back away from Manchin, and back to the number 10. There is a new statistic that may further explain, why it's so hard, to get at least 10 Republicans, in the Senate, on board, with reforms, to our gun laws.

There's actually a new survey out, and the results might actually surprise you. 44 percent of Republicans nationwide indicate that they accept mass shootings as inevitable as part of a, quote, "Free society." Inevitable!

I have to admit, I had to process that one, for a moment. The idea that nearly half would say, "We should just accept mass shootings as maybe inevitable?" I don't know if we can buy that collectively.

And 85 percent of Democrats, and 73 percent of Independents, say that in the poll, we can prevent mass shootings, quote, "If we really tried," unquote.


So, if this is a starting point? "Inevitability?" "We got to try harder?" What comes next? And what's in the middle? And frankly, how do you explain to people, who were shot, over the weekend that either A, it was inevitable or, B, we really didn't try hard enough?

We're talking about 14 people shot, three killed, and 11 injured, after multiple shooters, opened fire, in the South Street area, at Philadelphia, on Saturday. Now police say that five guns were used, after a possible physical alteration - altercation, excuse me.

We'll talk now to Philadelphia's District Attorney - the former Mayor, excuse me, in just a moment. The former - excuse me, the current D.A., Larry Krasner, in just a moment.

But first, I'm joined by former Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter, who is with us now.

Are you there? There he is. It's question whether you're going to be here, or was Krasner first. I'm glad that you're here. Because you have seen this.

And I would say, I heard a colleague, a mayor say, there are three parties, in this country. There is Democrats. There's Republicans. And there are mayors. Because everything falls on your shoulders, as mayors, to handle, what this stalemate, leaves behind, in Congress.

When you see these numbers, when you hear about the violence, what do you attribute it to? MICHAEL NUTTER, (D) FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR: Well, Laura, thanks for having me on.

And first and foremost, right here, in our own city, my deepest condolences, to the families, who lost family members, over the weekend, families, who had family members shot, injured, and all of the families, this year, last year, and over all the years, who have suffered unnecessary gun violence and, in many instances, deaths.

It is one of the toughest parts of being an elected official, and certainly mayor, of any city, across the United States of America. We know that there are steps that we can take. We know that there are actions, not just words, but actions that must be taken.

There is no reason, for any civilian, to have an AR-15. The AR-15 history is a weapon, developed by a company, for the military, in the 50s, transitioned into the M16, which was used in the 60s, and then was a primary weapon, in Vietnam. So, it is a military type of weapon. There is no reason, for any civilian, in the United States of America, to have an AR-15.

I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. But I also believe, I have a First Amendment right, not to be shot. And so, that's what we're seeing, all across the country.

COATES: But yet? And excuse me, former Mayor?

NUTTER: Yes, there are challenges, of mental health--

COATES: Excuse me? On that point? Excuse me?

NUTTER: --issues. Yes?

COATES: On that point, when you talk about the idea, of being a strong supporter, we have to, of course, think about the greater context, here. You're a former Philadelphia Mayor. Pennsylvania has certainly a gun culture. They have been far more embracing of it, as a concept, than maybe other jurisdictions have.

If you say, you can reconcile the two, how can that be?


COATES: Tell me about why you think you reconcile those two points.

NUTTER: Of course. Pennsylvania, at least in our politics, a very, very purple state.

But when you look on the other side of Pennsylvania, the western side, for instance, and some other parts, but mostly in the west, there is a significant gun culture. That is a culture of families, and responsible individuals, traditions, a weapon, a gun being transferred, from father or mother, to son or daughter, with responsibility. Those are not the folks that we're worried about.

Because, on the eastern side of the state, and other parts of the state, that gun culture is about shooting and killing people.

And so, reasonable gun regulation, increasing background check, even Senator Manchin, talking about possibly raising the age, but also that we should not have access, to ghost weapons, ghost parts, high- capacity magazines.

Again, these are weapons of destruction. They are not for sport. They are not for hunting, as the great tradition is, in Pennsylvania.


NUTTER: And so, there's no conflict, between the Second Amendment, and the First Amendment. This is about weapons that kill and injure people.


NUTTER: There are certain weapons, you cannot buy, even in a Second Amendment society. You can't buy a machine gun. Most people can't. And so, we--

COATES: But former Mayor? Hold on.

NUTTER: --need to have a serious discussion.

COATES: I want to be clear.

NUTTER: I'm hopeful that the Senate - yes?

COATES: I want to be clear. There are two different conversations that are happening. And we're, in part, having part of them, right now. On the one hand, there's the idea of--

NUTTER: Right.

COATES: --hunting and guns, as a recreation.

You've clearly demarcated now that from the eastern part of the state. Obviously, we were talking about the Philadelphia area, where we're seeing the spikes in violence, as near as other parts of the country. What do you attribute that to?


Is that a matter of you've gone after, at one point, in time, the current D.A., Mr. Krasner, on this issue, blaming in part, the idea of having a soft-on-crime, or a progressive prosecutorial discretion strategy.

Is that what you attribute the clear distinction between, those who are honoring the Second Amendment rights, and those who are exploiting some sort - some maybe a perceived loophole, in the law, or the absence of prosecution?

NUTTER: Well, there are certainly many reasons, for why gun violence is up. It's been going up in Philadelphia, for the last five years. Three years prior to the pandemic. So, it's not just a pandemic phenomenon.

But also, you want to send a message, to those, who carry illegal weapons that those weapons will be sought out that you will be prosecuted that you will go to jail, for carrying an illegal weapon.

And, in the recent times, unfortunately, there has been a mindset, or a message, directly or indirectly, sent that somehow it's OK, to carry illegal weapons. That is wrong. That is dangerous. And that is a part of the mindset of people, here, in this city, and others, that somehow you can get away with, carrying an illegal weapon.

We should have a no-tolerance policy, for people carrying illegal weapons, ghost weapons, or any of this other activity that's going on. This is not that complicated, Laura. And it takes strong leadership, takes direction, and action. Not just words.

COATES: Michael Nutter, thank you so much. I appreciate your time, tonight.

I want to turn now to the city's top prosecutor, Philadelphia D.A., Larry Krasner, who says it's time, for lawmakers, in his state, to take, quote, "Real action." And he blames the NRA lobby, for this, and other mass shootings. He joins me, tonight.

D.A. Krasner, I'm glad that you're here.

You just heard from a former colleague, the former Mayor of Philadelphia, who talks about the idea, and I'm paraphrasing here, the perception that when you fail to prosecute those, for having illegal possession of weapons, that they're somehow emboldened.

Do you believe that's the case, in why there is increased violence in your city?

LARRY KRASNER, (D) PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You know, it's ironic that the Mayor, who canceled libraries, in the public schools, and terminated prevention programs, for youth, is now touting himself an expert, on what we should do about gun violence. If he hadn't done that, many years ago, we would have a much more robust form of prevention, in this city.

And while I understand that he may have personal political reasons, as a non-lawyer, who never worked in criminal justice, for wanting to tout his own virtues, the truth is that when there were lower levels of homicide, in Philadelphia, it was happening, all across the country, just as it's happening today.

So no, respectfully, I don't find, ex-Mayor Nutter, to be very authoritative, on these topics, at all.

COATES: And yet yes--

KRASNER: I'm in my 34th year.

COATES: You know?

KRASNER: I'm in my 34th year, in this kind of work.

COATES: Right.

KRASNER: The issues that we are dealing with here, are sweeping issues, from all across the country.

There's nothing that old leadership did, that really brought under control, the proliferation of weapons. We are in a country where we have 120 guns, for every 100 people. It is more than twice any other country in the world. And we're paying the price for that.

We have to do something, about a country that obviously is more for guns than it is for people, because we have more guns. And that means the kind of bold leadership that stands up to the NRA that, calls them out, for what they are, which is the most destructive, violent organization, in the history of the United States.

And we need to be voting out politicians, who want to take us backwards, back towards the kind of things, the NRA has stood for, back towards ending prevention, like Mayor Nutter stood for, we need to go after that, by moving forward. And--

COATES: Well, Larry, let me tell you - excuse me. On that point, I mean, you - it strikes me, as particularly curious.

And I can imagine the retort, while we're sitting here, today, that you're calling the NRA lobbying, violent. Meanwhile, there is a surge of violence, in a city, where you have some control, over being able to prosecute people.

Now, there has been accusations that have been leveled, against you, in the form of saying, "Listen, look, we've got arrests being made in the area. Guns are getting taken off the street. But there's not a lot of convictions."

What do you say to the idea that somehow the officer morale, or the inability to address violence, is attributed to your decisions, to have a more progressive notion, about a prosecution, and how that goes forward.

And again, you're talking to a former prosecutor, myself. I understand the reality of having to actually prove a case, even after an arrest. It's a very different hurdle.

But what do you say to the reaction that says "No, no. It's not the lobbying. It's not the NRA. It's your failure to prosecute the bad guys."

KRASNER: I say that we have facts, and they do not. It's actually not that complicated.

The solve rate for the Philadelphia police, in Philadelphia, in the last measured year, for shootings, was only 17 percent. The solve rate for fatal homicides was only 28 percent.

[21:15:00] And while my office, like many other progressive Prosecutors' Offices, has championed forensics that would allow the police department to do a better job? There's really no interest, on the part of the status quo, and the Duggan (ph) politicians, in this field, in that. This should have been done 30 years ago. We should have tools that will solve crimes.

On the other hand, my actual conviction rate, when it comes to gun violence shootings, is on the order of 80 percent. It is actually as high as the most Hang'em High prosecutors, in the past, the difference being we make sure that they're actually guilty, and they did not, which is part of the reason we've had so many exonerations.

People will say what they want to say. And they will say it, when they have a political agenda. But the facts simply do not support any of that.

The gutting of prevention, in Philadelphia, and across the country, the failure to invest in it, the movement of resources, to make us the most incarcerated country, in the world, and also the most heavily- armed country, in the world, while we took those resources, out of public education, out of treatment, has been a decade's long disaster. Going backward is the worst thing we could possibly do. We have to go forward.

COATES: Well, let's go forward. Because, I think, there's charges being brought against somebody, who was arrested, in connection with this weekend's shooting. What's happening now?

KRASNER: Now, well, we have - we do actually have something new, which is that charges have been brought, against two people. The second of the two people, known to be involved, in this terrible shooting that occurred in Philadelphia, was apprehended, by U.S. Marshals, and has been charged.

This is a very heavily ongoing investigation. A lot of people are losing a lot of sleep over it. I have been to the scene, myself. I've been on the phone, less than 15 minutes ago, with our Chief of homicide non-fatal shootings, and attorney in my office, who works closely with Philadelphia Police.

ATF is collaborating closely. There has been a gathering of a tremendous amount of video that has shed a lot of light, on what's going on.

Now, one of the ironic things that we are finding, is that this all grew out, of a two-on-one confrontation, two people against one person. Among those three people, this started out as a fistfight. And two, out of those three people, were licensed, to carry a firearm.

The genesis of this terrible mass shooting was not about illegal weapons. The genesis of this mass shooting was about, everybody has a weapon. And so, fistfights that, in my day, would have resulted in a broken nose, or maybe, at most, a broken jaw, turned into absolute mayhem, on the streets, which takes me back. What are we going to do, in a country that has 120 guns, for every 100 people? What are we going to do about this? Other countries have dealt with this. We need to stop acting like guns are more important, than people.

And we need to throw out the politicians, who got us here. If the NRA likes them? Throw them out. If their lobbyists, meet with electeds? Throw them out. If they take money from the gun lobby? Throw them out. And we will have a safer society.

COATES: Larry Krasner, thank you for your insight, tonight. Keep us posted, there are more suspects coming, as well. I appreciate it.

We're going to keep this extraordinarily important conversation, going, with some great minds, offering all kinds of perspectives. They are sort of leaning in, right now, through all the conversations.

And I have to ask, is this the week something could finally be agreed upon, in the Senate, on guns? If not now, when? And is Larry Krasner, right? Are we throwing out the politicians, who even meet with the NRA? Next.



COATES: Raising the age limit, for buying semi-automatic firearm, to 21, appears to be off the table.

The two Republican senators, leading the gun talks, in the Senate, say they're focusing on changing the criminal background check system, to access juvenile records, red flag laws, bolstering the mental health system, and beefing up school security, all still appear to be in the mix for bipartisan negotiations.

Let's talk about all this now, with Audie Cornish, Ana Navarro, and Scott Jennings.

I'm glad to have all of you here. I have to say, we just heard from two people, who, they're not friends, right? Let me just be very clear.


COATES: And they didn't agree on a whole lot.

But this idea, toward the end of it, the idea of the D.A., Krasner, saying, "You have to sort of root out anyone, who the NRA even supports. That is the lobbying. It's the lobbying that's the issue. It's not just the guns," what's your reaction to that?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: I mean, I'll start, and say that that's - those are the words, of somebody, who doesn't want an outcome.

I mean, we have a 50/50 Senate, a nearly divided House, a Democrat in the White House, right now, who's in a pretty weak political position.

If you want an outcome here? You're going to have to have both parties, at the table, which we do have going on, in the Senate, right now. And you're going to have to accept that it's going to be narrow, targeted, and germane, to the tragedies, we've seen, lately.

So, if you want to go around, and make political pronouncements? That's fine. But that, to me, signals someone, who doesn't want an outcome.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: You said, "Narrow, targeted and germane." What, to you, is germane, in this moment? Because, usually that fluctuates, depending on what the most recent shooting event is, and what media coverage is on, in the moment.

JENNINGS: Yes. Well, I think - I think what Republicans - if they want to vote for something, they have to be able to tell their Second Amendment-supporting constituents, that "This might have stopped this person, from doing this act," whatever the act happens to be in that moment.

And so, whether it's the getting access to the juvenile records, flagging people, who shouldn't have a weapon? Those are the kinds of things. A lot of people talk about this debate, and frame it as gun control. I think what you're going to hear Republicans frame it as, is criminal control. And that's where we're headed, in my opinion--

COATES: Is that--

JENNINGS: --on the Republican--

COATES: --is that persuasive enough, though? I mean, the idea of criminal control? I heard both. Both of them said, it's not complicated. And they both--


NAVARRO: Persuasive to whom?

COATES: --things were complicated. What?

NAVARRO: Persuasive to whom?

COATES: To Democrats, to Republicans, to get the actual outcome, we're talking about.

NAVARRO: No. There is no doubt that nobody's going to be happy with whatever agreement comes up, right?

The people, on the Right, are not going to be happy. Because, the folks from the NRA don't want anything to pass.

Their procedure is, "Put a chokehold on anything, because anything will turn into a slippery slope. And any day, the government will come, and they will take away all your guns." That's the NRA narrative, and with what they have stopped any effort, at gun reform, and gun control, for the last few years.


On the Left, if it's not a ban of the AR-15s, if it's not a ban of 18- year-old to 21-year-old? They're not going to be happy with that.

So, I'm to the point, where I realize nobody's going to be happy, with the agreement. I will be happy, if anything passes, because it will be the first time that the NRA's chokehold, is slightly broken, and defied. And I hope that we can build on, from there.

And we can - and the Republican politicians can see that it won't be the end of their careers, and of their political lives, if they stand up for their constituents, and they stand up for things that 90 percent of Americans are for, like background checks, instead of standing up for the NRA--

COATES: And your bar is not--

NAVARRO: --which has a special interest in this.

COATES: --your bar is not so low.

NAVARRO: Oh, my bar is - my bar is--

COATES: Well it's low - it sounds low, at first, Ana. Then, you go on to talk about, you want to be able to show that, "Hey, this incremental movement, can mean not the end of your career. So maybe the next time, sort of hear Ducky-Ducky come on to more of it (ph)."

Is that too much to ask, Audie?

CORNISH: Well, first of all, that is low. You are setting--

COATES: It's way low.

CORNISH: --you are setting a low bar. I think the question - there's two things going on.

One, your point about germane, the problem is that they're shifting goalposts, right? Every time, there's a different shooting, or a weekend of gun violence, now, there are different remedies, depending on whether it is active shooter, mass shooter, more rare event, what people would call a gun, or - I'm sorry, street level, or economic kind of violence that happens. Those need very different remedies. And there are very different issues at play, when you try and deal with it. So first of all, that makes it tough.

Second of all, in terms of the low bar, sometimes, you have, what's called, a catalyst event. And there are shootings, where we think "Oh, my goodness! How could nothing have been done," right?

COATES: Sandy Hook Elementary, for example.

CORNISH: Exactly. Though, for the record, there was a movement there, to try and hold gun companies liable. Did it - was it successful? No. But did it put on the table a new kind of question, for people, to raise, which is like, can you hold manufacturers liable, in one way or another? Is that fight still worth having? We'll see.

And right now, the catalyst event, coming off of Parkland, unfortunately, were those sort of red flag laws, right, the kind of extreme risk orders that says, if you're risk to yourself and others, maybe we should curb your access, to weapons. That has limits, right, for your street violence?

NAVARRO: Yes. But listen, I lived 30 minutes, from Parkland. And I have a cousin, who was killed, at Pulse. His name was Jerry Wright. In fact, his parents, were Republican voters, and Republican donors.

And after Parkland, under Governor Rick Scott, back then, we passed, in Florida, a ban from - for 18-year-olds and 21-year-olds, where you have to now be 21.

And this is the same Rick Scott, who a few years later, got elected, to the Senate, as a Republican, and is now leading the Senate reelection campaign, for Republicans. And so yes, there is life after voting against the NRA. Yes, there is life after - against going after - after going against the NRA.

There isn't life, after a mass shooting. There isn't life after having to bury little children, in coffins, decorated with what their interests were, with little dinosaurs and Superman! There's no life after that. There is no life, for my cousin, Jerry Wright.

And Republicans have to understand that none of us are immune. When that mass shooter walks into that school, or walks into that supermarket, or walks into that church, or walks into that temple? He's not going to stop, and ask, if he - if somebody's Republican, or somebody is a Democrat? If somebody is pro-NRA, or somebody's against NRA?


NAVARRO: If somebody's pro Second Amendment or against Second Amendment?

And so, the number of people need to remember, is the number to call their senator, and tell them "Enough is enough." Because this is only happening, in America.

COATES: Well, let me tell you something, I want to play for you all a question that too many teachers are having to answer.

This is - there was a moment, we want to play it later on. There is a teacher, at Uvalde, who is - had 11 students in his class killed. And they asked him, "What is going on?" And he said, "I don't know. Let's just hide under the desk, as if you're asleep."

How many more teachers will have to answer questions, and at the end, will have funerals? We'll talk about in just a moment.

Audie, Ana, Scott, stick around. We'll be right back. Coming up, a retired judge killed, in his own home. The accused shooter had a history with the victim.

My next guest is a judge, who was also once targeted, in a deadly attack that claimed the life of her son. She says, there is a commonsense solution, to this kind of terror. We'll discuss, when CNN TONIGHT returns.



COATES: "A targeted attack." That's what cops are calling the killing of a retired Wisconsin Judge.

John Roemer's body was found zip-tied, to a chair, in his own home, on Friday. He was shot, and killed, police say, by a man, he sentenced to prison, back in 2005, on a burglary charge.

The suspect, Douglas Uhde, is in critical condition, tonight, after police say, he shot himself. Authorities also found a list of other potential targets, including Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

And this isn't an isolated problem. I mean, threats, against judges, have risen dramatically, over the past decade.

And my next guest, is a judge, whose family was personally targeted. Her son was shot, and killed, and her husband was wounded, in an attack, against her, two years ago.

Judge Esther Salas, joins us now. And she's been pushing, for federal legislation, to protect other judges.

Judge Salas, thank you for being here today. It's been 20--


COATES: I'm glad that you're here. But I wish we met under very different circumstances.

And this has been almost two years, since the death of your son. 22 months, 18 days, I know you are counting. And I understand why, as a mother. I can't imagine what you've gone through. And yet, you're channeling it, in a way, to try to stop this, from happening, again.

Tell me about, why this federal legislation, would be so impactful, to protect judges, and those who are doing their jobs, to try to stop crime?


SALAS: What this legislation does is it allows the judges, to seek and to remove personally-identifiable information, off the internet. Information that the FBI calls open source information. Information that has been used, time and time again, to target us.

And Judge Roemer, I'd like to say that, he was assassinated. And there have been so many judges that have been assassinated. And it is now time for Congress to act.

This was my biggest, biggest fear, Miss Coates. When this - when we began, when Mark and I began this crusade, to try to get federal legislation enacted, legislation named after Daniel, the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, this is what I worried about, which was another judge, losing his or her life. And the news, this weekend, has just been devastating.

COATES: It might surprise people, frankly, it shocks me, at times, to realize just the availability of information.

The idea that somebody, who could be a judge, the assumption would be, by virtue of people, who are trying to retaliate, in some way, angered by the choices, you've made, and decisions you've ruled on, that there would be an overwhelming desire to protect.

And you know, how I believe that. We see that with the Supreme Court, with protests that have been happening. You have members of Congress vying for something very similar as well.

Why is this such a difficult thing to try to pass? There is bipartisan support. What do you think is the actual hang-up here?

SALAS: I wish I could answer that question. Because it's boggling - it boggles my mind. I mean, this bill is bipartisan, bicameral. We had - we passed the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, with no objections. Senators of - Senator Cruz, Senator Cotton, there are - there is bipartisan support. So, I don't know what the problem is.

But here's what I do know. In America, this should not be happening. In America, where we value the rule of law and democracy, this should not be happening.

And, at this point in time, we have to say to ourselves, and say to our leaders, "Let us now work together. Let us now do what we need to do, to protect federal judges, and send a message to the would-be killers, and send a message to the world that in America, we protect the rule of law. We protect judges."

COATES: And that's so - yes.

SALAS: And that's what we have to do.

COATES: It's so important the way you have framed that. Because, I think, when we're talking about, how we hold ourselves out, that well, as a nation of laws, and the value of it, and the beauty of that, and then not to protect those who are in charge of enforcing or handing down decisions?

Let's be clear. You're not talking either/or, either judges or Supreme Court, either Congress, or judges. You're saying, there is room, in the same philosophy, for everyone, to have this same outcome? SALAS: Absolutely. I am not saying that members of Congress shouldn't seek protections, for themselves. Certainly not saying that. But the Daniel Anderl bill has been ready for months. We have been begging, for months. We have been doing what we can, to really just stress the importance.

And then, we see judge Roemer. And I have to tell you, that when I think about his family, this evening, and when I think about, all that they are feeling? I know only too well, this is a life or death situation. These are decisions that need to be made, and they need to be made now.

And I agree with you that it isn't an either/or. This is "Let's work together. Let Daniel Anderl's bill go forward, and then mirror our bill, and push your bill forward."

But the fact is that 22 months, and 18 days ago, I lost my only child, one that quite frankly was a blessing from God. But Mark and I lost. We literally had four miscarriages. And Daniel, we called our karma baby.

We no longer have our child, on this earth. We no longer worry about ourselves. We worry about other judges, other families. And we worry, really, I worry about the rule of law, because I see it eroding. And I see us, as a country, and as a nation, in trouble, if we don't turn this tide, right now.

COATES: Judge Salas, thank you, for sharing. And thank you for sharing, Daniel, with the world. I appreciate it.

SALAS: Thank you so much, Miss Coates. Have a lovely evening.

COATES: You too.

On the other side, you're about to hear, from a teacher, who survived the Uvalde school shooting, describing the very moment that he encountered, the gunman, and the horrors, inside this classroom, where 11 of the 19 murdered students, were killed. That's next.



COATES: A heartbreaking account, of what happened, inside the Uvalde classroom, where 11 children were killed. None of them, who were in Arnulfo's - excuse me, Arnulfo Reyes' classroom are alive, tonight. Keep that in mind. None are alive, tonight.

And when you hear, what he told ABC News, about those children, and some of their final moments, you might want to brace yourself.


ARNULFO REYES, ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER: The kids started asking, out loud, "Mr. Reyes, what is going on?" And I said, "I don't know what's going on. But let's go ahead and get under the table. Get under the table, and act like you're asleep."


COATES: He was shot himself, twice. And he has - he had to play dead, for more than an hour, until law enforcement stopped the killer.

Yet now, almost two weeks later, as we continue to push, for answers, from police, about what they were doing, in the critical moments that he was trying to give these children, some semblance of comfort, and providing a chilling glimpse, of what those decisions would mean, for the children, who were cowering in fear? Listen to this.



REYES: One of the students, from the next door classroom, was saying, "Officer, we're in here. We're in here." But they had already left.

And then, he got up, from - from my - behind my desk, and he walked over there, and he shot over there again.


COATES: Want you to let that reality sink in. I mean, really, try to imagine what that was like? I can't tolerate my children being scared for 10 seconds. Imagine what's going through that teacher's mind, and parents, all across the world, tonight.

And we're going to talk about this. And I know the conversation is not easy. But you know what was not easy, and what won't be easy? Trying to forget what happened in that classroom. In either classroom. And we shouldn't. Next.



COATES: We'll get some reaction now, on what we heard, from a teacher, who was shot, in the Uvalde massacre. He described how one of the students, in the classroom, next to him, was trying to get the attention of police. "Officer, we're in here. We're in here." But they had already left.

Back now, with me, and my - in studio, guests, tonight.

First of all, I have to say, we are reeling, during these conversations. It is very difficult. And my concern is, we think they're very difficult. People have a tendency, to try to avert their gaze, to move on to the next thing. They want a moment of levity. They want to forget it.

And, as you described, during the break, at one point, Audie, the notion of how all the different mass shootings, we've seen, one is a school shooting, one might be in Philadelphia, in terms of an altercation, that's turned violent? These might be opportunities, for legislators, to say, "Well, there's no solution, now. How could I possibly have a one-size-fits-all bill, with all these different reasons for the shooting?"

Are there too many off-ramps now, including not wanting to stay, in the moment, in a tragedy?

CORNISH: Well, I think, it's hard to come up with a solution, when there are so many different issues, right? You can't just say, "Oh, this will be the thing that solves it." So, I think, lawmakers, in particular, and especially some of the gun policy activists, are looking access for a very specific reason.

The FBI has done research on active shooter events. And while the demographics don't necessarily tell you everything you need to know, there is a pattern. And that pattern is grievance. Then grievance moves to research, and planning, purchasing, whatever you need to do, to commit that offense. Sometimes, acting out in ways that other people notice.

And the other, in the under-18 crowd, a lot of times, kids and teachers, their sort of fellow cohort notice these things. But there's no way to tell law enforcement, so to speak, right? There's a huge gap, between what I might have seen, or heard, from someone, and who do I get it to?

Who do I tell? And then, what do they do? And once you tell them that, can you infringe on their rights? Do you trust law enforcement not to racially-profile? Do you trust law enforcement, to do what they're supposed to do, in terms of prevention efforts?

And even in the case of, say, red flag laws, in Florida, they didn't necessarily fund training, to put those in place.

So, does your local police - police department, have the ability, to process, even extreme risk orders? So, there's just sort of like a lot of moving targets. And, I think, it - sorry, that's a bad way of saying it. But there's just sort of, the goalpost keeps changing. And I think that's what makes it difficult.

I don't just say that NRA is not a problem. But I also think it's creating a boogeyman, when there is actually a greater sort of kind of cultural discussion, going on, about what should access.

NAVARRO: Well, I think, the NRA is absolutely a huge part of the problem, because they dole out enormous amounts of money, millions and millions of dollars, and they move votes. They've got 4.5 million - 5 million members. And the NRA has evolved enormously. As you and I know, they've been--

CORNISH: But there are plenty of PACs that could be countering the NRA, and are actively trying to.

NAVARRO: But they're not - but they're not - but those PACs that you're talking about, don't move voters, in Republican primaries. And that's where these - the legislators, cowards, that they are, putting their political careers, in front of kids' lives, are being held hostage.

And listen, the problem with the off-ramps, is that one side wants to say, it's all about mental health. It's all about school security. It's all about this. The other side wants to say, it's all about guns.

I don't understand why voters don't say, "It's not an either/or. Don't play us for idiots. This is not an either/or. We have a gun issue epidemic in this country. And we need to approach it holistically, and have an all-hands-on-deck approach."

JENNINGS: I think, on this NRA question, the NRA is not an empty vessel. It's made up of millions of people.

And so, to say that the NRA moves votes? What you're actually saying is that there are millions and millions of Americans, who strongly believe in the Second Amendment, and they strongly believe that, as a law-abiding citizen, they don't deserve to have their rights infringed upon. So, I think, it's more complicated than you make it. I think--

NAVARRO: But Scott, when the NRA--


COATES: --I don't want to - I have a right to not be shot.

CORNISH: Yes, but what--

COATES: What do you say to that?

CORNISH: But are you a litmus test voter?

NAVARRO: No, no, no, but listen? What - what--

CORNISH: And I think that's a big difference.

COATES: Well I'm a Black woman, from the Midwest.

CORNISH: But is it--

COATES: I am a litmus test!

CORNISH: But is it your litmus test--

COATES: I'll tell you that.

CORNISH: --when you go to the ballot? Or do you care more about Roe v. Wade? Or do you care more about immigration?


CORNISH: There are voters, when it comes to gun policy, for which the Second Amendment, is their litmus test.

JENNINGS: Of course.

CORNISH: "I will not vote someone, who doesn't do X, Y, and Z." NAVARRO: But also, listen?

CORNISH: Democrats have not built the same coalition, on the other side, in terms of, reaching the ballot box, and saying, "I won't vote for anyone, unless they're going to do X, Y, and Z."


NAVARRO: But the NRA, like you and I know, has been around for over 150 years. And they have changed, they've evolved, enormously.


It started as a gun club, a hunting club, started by two Civil War generals. It is now mostly funded, and led, by the gun industry, a gun industry that got them, to pass legislation, in 2005, making them immune, from any sort of litigation. If you--

CORNISH: But the gun industry, itself is powerful, right? And the NRA, in recent years, has been really crippled by corruption.

NAVARRO: But they're powerful through the NRA.

JENNINGS: But you know? But - but - but - but--

NAVARRO: They're funding the NRA.

CORNISH: I mean, I just don't know if it's a good--

COATES: Last comment, Scott?

JENNINGS: Yes. I know.

COATES: I mean, we always--

JENNINGS: But truly--

COATES: Real quick.

JENNINGS: --truly, Republican voters, conservatives, NRA or not, strongly believe in the Second Amendment. And so, whether they're going under the banner of the NRA, or anything else, they're not going, whether they view it as correct - they're not going to give up on something that they fundamentally believe.

NAVARRO: Scott, yes, the other day, I saw Bill Frist.

COATES: That's got to be--

NAVARRO: The former Senate President, Republican Senate Leader, tweet out that he was now--


NAVARRO: --in favor, of a ban, of AR-15s.

COATES: Imagine that!

NAVARRO: That was a huge change.

COATES: It is a huge change! We'll come back at this point, later.

Be right back.


COATES: Thank you for watching. I'll be back, tomorrow night.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.


COATES: Hey, Don Lemon?

LEMON: Hi, how are you, Laura Coates?

We have three days, four days, before we have the first hearings, from January 6. It's going to be certainly interesting, to watch, in primetime. We had wondered, for so long, if those hearings were going to be in primetime. And now, they are.