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FROM THIS EPISODE

Local cops claim they're increasingly out-gunned by criminals with high-caliber automatic weapons.  So they're beefing up their own armaments. The federal Assault Weapons ban expired three years ago. Has that produced an arms race in American cities? Was the ban really all that effective? Plus, Democrats plan to increase pressure on President Bush over his plan for increased troops in Iraq and, on Reporter's Notebook, the mainstream media are taking heat for over-covering Anna Nicole Smith.  Did they have any choice?

Producers:
Dan Konecky
Vanessa Romo
Christian Bordal

Main Topic Buying, Selling and Using Assault Weapons in the US 34 MIN, 36 SEC

The International Association of Police Chiefs reports that high-caliber automatic weapons are increasingly common on the streets of American cities. Local police departments are fighting back with military-style armament of their officers.  But there's dispute about whether the arms race started when the federal Assault Weapons Ban expired three years ago or long before that. Was the ban really all that effective?  Are there other reasons both cops and criminals are more heavily armed?  How come so many US assault weapons are turning up in Mexico?  We hear from journalists, industry and policy and gun-safety experts.

Guests:
Kevin Johnson, Reporter for USA Today
Paul Erhardt, Spokesman for SigArms
Kristen Rand, Legislative Director for the Violence Policy Center
Whit Collins, Former Editor of Guns & Ammo
Chris Hawley, Latin America Correspondent, USA Today

Reporter's Notebook Anna Nicole Smith, Lowbrow Gossip or Classic Fiction? 7 MIN, 52 SEC

The travails of Anna Nicole Smith--in life and death--have moved from the tabloids and cable TV to the Washington Post and New York Times.  Media critics have wondered why the coverage now blankets all of journalism, from the sensational to the supposedly serious.  John Sutherland, Professor of English Literature, says the Anna Nicole Smith story is, quite simply, the stuff of classic literature.

Guests:
John Sutherland, Visiting Professor of Literature at CalTech

Making News Senate Democrats Plan to Revoke War Authorization 6 MIN, 7 SEC

When Congress returns on Tuesday, Democrats in both houses will be keeping up the pressure on President Bush and his plan for increasing troops in Iraq.  In the Senate, there's talk of revising the authorization to use force passed in 2002.  John Donnelly reports for Congressional Quarterly.

Guests:
John Donnelly, Reporter for Congressional Quarterly

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