whether you like it or not. >> plus, survivors speak. >> i was trying to keep my head down. >> aurora, virginia tech, oak creek. we hear from those who have lost the most. >> from the global resources of abc news with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city. this is a special edition of "nightline." tragedy at sandy hook. the search for solutions. >> good evening. i'm cynthia mcfadden. at 9:30 this morning, church bells across america rang out in a moment of national silence. one chime for each victim of the tragedy that struck newtown, connecticut, one week ago. yet even as this nation comes together to mourn, we remain deeply divided. all weeknight line has dedicated our broadcast to examining the complex relationship between america and its guns. tonight the most divisive day yet. here's my coanchor, terry moran. >> reporter: in newtown this
morning, silence, one week after the children screaming and the madman shooting. sigh length across the country. silence in the oval office. and that ancient marker of mourning and remembrance, church bells. [ bells tolling ] >> reporter: the pain is still raw, the horror still fresh. but in washington the debate is already beginning and today a key voice, a powerful voice was at last heard. >> the national rifle association. >> reporter: wayne lapierre, the long-time executive vice president of the nra, took to the podium in washington just an hour or so after the national moment of remembrance. for a week, the nra had been silent, uncharacteristically silent as their opponents lambasted them. >> change, change, change! >> reporter: today, lapierre fired back. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
but since when did the gun automatically become a bad word? i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. >> reporter: it was the classic nra crisis response. no retreat. no surrender. the answer to gun violence is, more guns, lapierre said, and rerailed against the very notion of gun-free school zones. >> they tell every insane killer in america that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk. >> reporter: lapierre really had another mission. blame. it's not guns, he argued, it's -- >> blood-soaked films out there, violent video games. the political class here in
washington, d.c., the national media machine. >> the nra has blood on its hands! >> reporter: as he spoke gun control activists that slipped past tight security twice interrupted him. >> nra, stop killing our children! >> reporter: on capitol hill, democrats seeking tougher gun control laws denounced his proposals. >> the nra has declined to step forward as a credible and constructive partner. >> reporter: and there was this on the facebook page of mark kelly, husband of former congresswoman gabby giffords, grievously wounded in a mass shooting last year. gabby and i are extremely disappointed. the nra could have chosen to be a voice for the vast majority of its own members who want commonsense reasonable safety guards on firearms but instead it chose to defend extreme pro-gun positions. but the nra's message today wasn't aimed at its critics. it was a stark reminder to its allies, politicians who need the
nra's support. toe the line. >> they stifle any meaningful discussion about these issues everyone, whether you are a democrat or republican, you are afraid of them. they bully you. >> reporter: deborah magguard, former leader in the house of representatives, life-long member of the nra, a staunch conservative. she supported gun rights throughout her career, earning an a-plus rating from the nra, until this year. when she opposed a bill allowing tennesseeans to carry guns in cars. >> never voted against them but the one time we say, wait a minute. this is really not a good idea, they came after me as hard as they could. >> reporter: they sure did. billboards pairing maggard with president obama. the kiss of death for tennessee republicans. flyers, newspaper ads. internet videos. >> both say they support our second amendment rights but they both worked against our freedoms behind closed doors.
>> they prey on your fears and they know most people won't have the courage to stand up to them. >> reporter: but deborah maggard did and paid the price. she lost her race to the nra backed challenger. that's the way the nra has long operated, striking fear into the hearts of republicans and democrats alike. in this year's presidential campaign, republicans fell all over themselves to curry favor from the organization. >> it's great to be here with so many friends of the national rifle association. >> reporter: but is it different this time? >> everyone in this country at one time or another has loved a 6-year-old or a 7-year-old. and i think the nra for once, i think everybody is paying attention to how they operate. they have stifled meaningful discussion by using fear and intimidation tactics to keep people from saying the things that maybe need to be said. >> our thanks to terry moran. next up, the man who says the nra is not as powerful as
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"nightline," tragedy at sandy hook. >> reporter: the search for solutions continues with cindy mcfadden. >> it may have take then loss of 26 lives at sandy hook elementary to blow up a long overdue conversation about guns but for michael bloomberg it is the 34 lives lost to guns every day in this country that fuelled his decades long crusade. he said it is time for president
obama to take actions and for the nra to get out of the way. >> columbine. >> virginia tech. >> today the call for tougher gun laws got some star power. an a-list of hollywood celebrities teaming up to release this new video. >> demand a plan. >> right now. >> have people been coming up to you on this issue? >> oh, yeah. >> this is the man behind it, new york city mayor bloomberg, more determined than ever in his fight against gun violence. his number one target the nra. >> what would you like the nra to know? >> that i think the public has finally come to the conclusion we are going to do the this whether you like it or not and connecticut is because of some of their actions. >> you hold them responsibility. >> i hold you and me responsibility. we didn't pay attention to what our legislators were doing. we have let our society, our country degenerate to the point where we have a murder rate that
you cannot compare it to other countries. you can't put it on the same scale. >> the nra believes that it is working in the best interest of the american people. >> i don't know. they are not supposed to do that. they are supposed to work in the best interest of gun owners. they don't have a responsibility for the american people. they are paid for by the gun owners. there's nothing wrong with that. it is the rest of us that cave in to them that are irresponsible. >> a lot of people will be surprised to know fur on the no fly list, you can't fly but you can buy a gun. >> absolutely. >> he says for all of the nra's influence they can be vanquished. >> they are not that powerful. their number one priority in the last year was defeating president obama. i think when i remember reading newspapers a month ago he won. >> this is the latest chapter in the mayor's crusade who says he's attended far too many
police funerals. >> we have to do something to protect those who are trying to protect us. there are bullet -- armor-piercing bullets advertised for sale. the last time i saw a deer wearing a bulletproof vest was a long time ago. the only reason you would buy an armor-piercing bullet is to kill a cop. >> reporter: the bloomberg endorsed obama in november he pulls no punches when criticizing him on the gun issue. >> this last four years it would be fair to say the president has done nothing on the issue. >> no. he's gone in the wrong direction. he signed two pieces of legislation, one which lets you carry guns in national parks where our kids play and the other one he signed a bill so that you can carry a gun on amtrak. >> reporter: let's look at the assault weapons ban. we had one in the country for ten years. every single weapon used by the
shooter in connecticut would have been okay under the old assault weapons law. >> all right. so fix it. >> reporter: isn't it hard to define what is an assault weapon because it is so easy to write around, for manufacturers to create weapons that -- >> if it can fire a lot of bullets quickly. that's a good place to start. >> reporter: hunters would say -- >> let's say three. if you haven't hit the deer with three shots. you are a lousy shot and the deer deserves to get away. let's get serious here. >> that would ban most pistols. >> pistols are different. you have to pull the trigger each time. an assault weapon you hold and it goes -- >> those are fully automatic weapons. >> if you have a big magazining you will solve your problem. you still have to pull a trigger. but 30, 20, 10 bullets before you run out, i would suggest the deer, god wants that deer to.
>> according to gun owners what you described would ban what most hunters use today. >> if that is what they are using for god's sakes why don't they use dynamite. make it easier. what's the sport? >> reporter: the position a lot of people will say is all you will accomplish is taking guns from the good people and the bad people will still -- >> that's not true. the statistics say if you have a gun at home you are 22 times as likely to shoot a family member or friend as to somebody breaking in. don't try to go for a gun. somebody pointing a gun at you, you think you are going to outshoot them, that is one of the stupidest things i have ever heard. >> reporter: some say that is easy for a man to say who has 24-hour police protection. >> when i come in to interview you, i have to go through metal detectors and men out there with guns to make sure you are safe. there are a lot of people who say let's make our kids safe in the same way. barbara boxer said the national guard should be deployed.
>> to where. >> to schools across the country. >> that's ridiculous. you can't live your life that way. you would be in a prison. >> reporter: after a decade of battling this issue, the mayor says the tide may be turning. are we at the tipping point right now? >> i hope so but you never know. if the 20 young, 6 and 7-year-olds isn't a good example, i don't know what is. we are killing 34 people in this country every single day. >> reporter: michael bloomberg. ahead from the aurora movie theater to the classrooms of virginia tech, what do those who lost the most have to say? ♪
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the names themselves carry the echo of tragedy. aurora, colorado, oak creek, wisconsin, the campus of virginia tech. tonight, we ask those who were caught in the cross hairs and those who lost loved ones to share their solutions. >> just trying to keep my head down. just could hear, you know, the methodical banging of the gun. it was just like this booming noise. maybe at least one or two shots every second. right after the exhausted the shotgun, he went to his assault rifle. i sustained wounds in my face,
my neck, my chest, my arms. took two dozen shotgun pet pellets. >> i got a call from my brother and he said somebody has opened fire at the temple. my father along with five other beautiful people were shot and murdered in our congregation in oak creek, wisconsin. it is intense for the family and the community because he was the person that would galvanize the indian population in that area. >> i picked up myself and emily said, mommy, i have been shot. she said they are shooting all over. they are shooting all over. my daughter emily got two bullet shots to the back of her head. was likely a ricochet but about a half an inch. things would be very different. >> my younger brother texted me and basically said family emergency. call me. i called him. he said, dad's been shot.
it is hard every day. it's a void, you know, it's really a hole in my heart. >> one of her friends and my wife uses the quote now she made the ordinary extraordinary. she was shot in the head and killed. the world lost a beautiful -- beautiful girl. >> my stomach completely sank. >> shocked and angry. >> it's almost like a ptsd comes back. like you are staring at it and you start to go numb and you are crying. >> what's it going to take for people to want to address this issue? >> don't you think this is enough? >> to me, the most important
thing to address is the guns. we could do 100% background checks. we could make getting a gun as hard as getting a driver's license. >> background check for every gun sale. a ban on high-capacity magazines. >> limit the rounds, limit the availability of ammunition. >> background check should include a mental health component. >> my husband owns a gun. i'm for responsibility gun ownership which means responsible gun laws. >> we're grieving today, but we need to be organizing tomorrow. that is crucial. >> i'd like for the american people to take the responsibility of changing our gun culture. call your senators. call your cram and tell them you are not going to take. this you want some action. >> we all have a responsibility to make sure this doesn't happen again. and that no other family has to hear about the shooting death of a loved one.
>> thank you for watching abc news. "good morning america" will be waiting for you right here in the morning. good night, america. happy holidays. up next on an all new "jimmy kimmel live" live. >> hanukkah ended at sundown. it seemed like it went on longer than hobbit. >> hugh jackman, jenna fischer. and 2 chainz. >> my name is jimmy kimmel and you stole the covers off my daughter's prius and you will pay for