By Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN
Follow on Twitter: @CNNEmma
Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.
Newtown, Connecticut (CNN) - Six months ago, a lone gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and took 26 lives. The nation was stunned and President Barack Obama teared up while speaking about the situation.
Since then, Newtown has become a shorthand of sorts. Many argue that Newtown marks a turning point in political discussions about guns and mental health. Beyond that national discussion, we wondered about the town itself.
CNN's Wayne Drash and I recently visited Newtown. After days spent interviewing residents, attending meetings and sitting in diners, we started to notice a couple patterns. First, many people in Newtown can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news. FULL POST
By Edgar Treiguts, CNN
(CNN) - Tuesday marks one year since Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Martin is the Florida teenager who had a fatal confrontation with neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, in Sanford, Florida.
The incident sparked protests across the nation over the issue of race relations.
But it also prompted Florida, and other states, to take another look at the law pivotal to this case, the so-called "stand your ground" law.
It's a defense that Zimmerman expects to use when he goes to trial in June on second-degree murder charges. Language in Florida's "stand your ground" law makes it easier to prove self-defense, and is a law that prosecutors like Scott Burns aren't fans of. Burns is executive director of the National District Attorney's Association:
[2:43] "If somebody breaks into your house and you shoot them, that's easier for prosecutors to deal with. If there's an argument in a parking lot and someone shoots someone in the head, that's a little more difficult. Especially if you have a 'stand your ground' law that says you didn't have to retreat."
Burns says in the year since the Martin shooting, a vast majority of states have revisited their self-defense or "stand your ground" laws, with some making changes.
By Tommy Andres, CNN
(CNN) - President Obama's State of the Union address is expected to focus on the economy, but guns will also be a focal point even if the issue isn't addressed in words.
Around 20 House democrats have announced they will bring people affected by gun violence to the speech, and Republican Sen. John McCain has invited Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly to be his guests.
The speech comes just a week after the second wave of state legislative sessions kicked off, and a slew of gun related bills have hit statehouses across the country. In the Northeast, many states are pushing for stricter gun control, but in many states, mostly in the South, lawmakers are pushing legislation to block any federal gun control measures that may be passed in Washington.
By Nova Safo, CNN
Follow on Twitter: @nova_safo
Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was laid to rest on Saturday following a funeral in which her family struggled to keep national politics from overshadowing her memory.
The funeral was attended by numerous political figures, including Michelle Obama. Pendleton was shot just one mile from the Obamas' Chicago home, and an online petition urged the president to visit his hometown to address the gun violence. Late last week, the White House announced that not only would the first lady attend the funeral but that President Obama would visit Chicago this week to talk about gun violence there.
By Nova Safo, CNN
Twitter link: @nova_safo
(CNN) - For parents who’ve lost a child to gun violence, whether in Newtown or an inner-city street, Chicago Police Officer Ron Holt’s journey through grief may be a familiar one.
On May 10, 2007, Holt’s 16-year-old son Blair was shot and killed by another teenager, Michael Pace, on a crowded city bus. Pace was looking for a rival gang member. He shot several rounds indiscriminately at the passengers. Blair shielded another student, according to witnesses, and was shot in the abdomen. He died a few hours later at a hospital.
Blair’s death drew national media attention. It elicited outrage and vigils. When all the attention went away, Ron Holt was left to deal with his grief.
[:19] “The pain of loss, for me it doesn’t dissipate. I’ve learned to endure that emotional pain, that scarring of loss.”