Merry Christmas from the White House and the NRA...
UPDATES: Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle and others weapons used in mass murder legally purchased and registered; Newtown, CT elementary school shooting 2nd deadliest in U.S. history, most came since NRA helped loosen laws; Tearful President speaks in Brady Press Room, calls for 'meaningful action regardless of politics', fails to offer specifics...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2012, 11:16am PT  

[This began as breaking coverage. It has been UPDATED many times below.]

Despite the horror of a second mass shooting playing out during the holiday season this week, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says "today is not [the] day" to discuss gun laws. So it is, undoubtedly, a very Merry Christmas for the terrorist-enabling NRA and their cowardly supporters.

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UPDATE 12:14pm PT: According to AP, at this hour, there are 27 dead at the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, including 18 children, most of them kindergarteners, making this the second deadliest shooting in U.S. history. Which means, according to BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski, that "of the 12 deadliest shooting attacks in US history, six have occurred since 2007."

In other words, the six of the most deadly shootings in our history all happened in the years since the NRA was so successful in assuring the Reagan-era assault-weapons ban was ended and other gun laws were loosened and struck down entirely across the country.

As of this week, all 50 states now allow concealed guns to be carried. But, according to the terrorist-enabling NRA and its cowardly supporters, the solution is for still more people to carry guns (the Republican MI legislature approved a new law allowing guns in schools just last night) so we all keep getting safer and safer. Right?

The NRA plan to make America safer: Everyone get a gun. Wait for someone in bullet-proof armor to use a semi-automatic assualt rifle to shoot 60 people in a crowd in 90 seconds or so. Someone try to shoot them. That plan is perfect! No downsides at all.

UPDATE 12:21pm PT: President Obama just spoke in the Brady Press Room, named for Ronald Reagan's Press Secretary James Brady, who was shot in the head during the assassination attempt on Reagan, and the man for whom the now expired assault weapons ban, supported by Reagan and signed by George H.W. Bush, was named.

In terse remarks, while fighting back tears, the President said: "We've endured too many of these tragedies these past few years...We are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

He offered no suggestions, at this time, for that "meaningful action".

UPDATE 1:20pm PT: Number of children said killed, among the 27 shot by suspect, increased to 20.

Also, Democratic strategist Julian Epstein on MSNBC says 30 people are killed by guns every day in the U.S. 11,000 per year. "The equivalent of a jumbo jet going down every week in this country."

UPDATE 3:27pm PT: According to NBC News: "Weapons used in shooting were legally purchased and registered to gunman's mother, law enforcement officials tell NBC News ". Thanks for the great work, NRA con-men!

UPDATE 3:40pm PT: Fox "News" confirms weapons used were legally purchased and registered by shooter's mother (who was also killed). They (and CNN) report one weapon was a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle made by Bushmaster. Here's the Bushmaster 2012 catalog. Note the bottom of their website includes two different links to the NRA.

Apparently, you can buy one over the Internet today. It comes standard with 30-round magazine capacity. 27 were killed in CT today.

Here's a video of a .223 Bushmaster AR-15, similar to the one reportedly used in the killing of 27 in CT today, firing at 100 yards...

UPDATE 9:51pm PT: There seems to be quiet a bit of confusion, and conflicting information, about the type of weapons used in the mass shooting today. So let's try to clear that up a bit, with what we're able to learn at this hour...

Reports from CBS, from AP, from USA Today and from CNN all seem to concur that law enforcement officials say a Glock and a Sig Sauer pistol were recovered with the body of the shooter, and the Bushmaster .223-caliber (seen above) was found in his car.

The reports on the types of Glock and Sig Sauer used are not as clear. I'm no gun aficionado, and welcome correction here, but while Glocks appear to be pistols only, there are conversions kits available to make them into something more like high capacity rifles. High-capacity magazines, in any event, are available for the semi-automatic pistols made by both companies. Sig Sauer, for their part, makes both pistols and rifles, including .223-caliber semi-automatics. (Here's video of one being fired.)

Moreover, CBS reports that additional rifles were recovered, including "a Henry repeating rifle, an Enfield rifle and a shotgun," as does AP, though in both cases, they report "it was not clear exactly where those weapons were found."

Adding to the confusion, CBS reports that "A law enforcement source told CBS News' Pat Milton that casings (spent shells) from a .223 semi automatic rifle were found inside the school."

Business Insider, however, cuts to the main concern we have here, as it applies to the sleazy efforts that the NRA, and the arms trade manufacturers they represent, have made to ensure the Brady Bill --- which put limits on the size of high-capacity magazines --- would not be renewed after it expired in 2004, and that any discussion of anything like it would simply not be tolerated in Congress (emphasis in original):

Altogether, though, it doesn't matter what type of weapon the shooter used. The bottom line is that it was likely a magazine fed, semi-automatic, with enough rounds to shoot "100 shots" in a matter of minutes, according to USA Today.

Magazines for these weapons are generally controlled at 15 rounds, but 100-round drums can be found on the web

Yes, you have to have it shipped to an Federally Firearm Licensed dealer, BUT, are incredibly difficult to prosecute. You can also go to several gunshows where there is little, if any, oversight on purchases.

As with the mass shooting at the Clackamas mall in Portland, Oregon earlier this week, it may be that law enforcement is being somewhat vague about the exact weapons used to help preserve the integrity of the investigation. In any case, the fact that it was so easy for a 20-year old to fire off 100 rounds in a matter of minutes, as is being reported at this hour, and that lawmakers seem impotent to do a damned thing about it, continues to be a national disgrace.

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UPDATE 12/14/12, 9:45am PT: Okay, still more new information about more guns used in the shootings. CBS News is now reporting this morning:

A law enforcement source told CBS News that Adam Lanza had three weapons with him during the attack: Two handguns (a Sig Sauer and a Glock), and a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle; spent shells were found in the school. Those three weapons were registered to his mother.

There was also a fourth weapon (a long gun) found in the car he drove to the school.

In addition, the source told CBS News there were "a few" other weapons found at the mother's house. The registry of the weapon in the car and at the house are still be checked. The tracing of all the weapons - such as where and when they were purchased - is still being conducted


That latest CBS report also cites the AP report earlier that "a Henry repeating rifle, an Enfield rifle and a shotgun were recovered" and that "It was not clear exactly where those weapons were found."

If CBS's latest report is accurate, that would explain their earlier report, as noted in my 9:51pm PT UPDATE above, that "casings (spent shells) from a .223 semi automatic rifle were found inside the school."

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UPDATE 12/16/12 1:51pm PT: Just to put a final period on this particular question for now, here is further confirmation that the killer used a Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle in the mass shootings at Newton, CT, killing 20 children and 6 adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in a "spree that lasted minutes"...

From today's New York Times...

The gunman in the Connecticut shooting blasted his way into the elementary school and then sprayed the children with bullets, first from a distance and then at close range, hitting some of them as many as 11 times, as he fired a semiautomatic rifle loaded with ammunition designed for maximum damage, officials said Saturday.

The state’s chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver II, said all of the 20 children and 6 adults gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., had been struck more than once in the fusillade.

He said their wounds were “all over, all over.”
Dr. Carver said it appeared that all of the children had been killed by a “long rifle” that Mr. Lanza was carrying; a .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle was one of the several weapons police found in the school. The other guns were semiautomatic pistols, including a 10-millimeter Glock and a 9-millimeter Sig Sauer.

And further confirmation from today's Washington Post...

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The gunman who killed 27 people, including 20 children, on Friday targeted a school to which he had no apparent connection — forcing his way in and spraying classrooms with a weapon designed to kill across a battlefield, authorities said.
“I’ve been at this for a third of a century. And my sensibilities may not be the average man’s. But this probably is the worst I have seen,” said H. Wayne Carver II. Carver described the children’s injuries, which he said ranged from at least two to 11 bullet wounds apiece.
Lanza was carrying at least three guns from a collection maintained by his mother, who friends said enjoyed target shooting. Lanza had two pistols, a Glock and a Sig Sauer.

But he apparently chose a larger weapon, a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle, for much of the killing. This rifle fires one bullet for every pull of the trigger, and the unusually high speed of its round was designed to produce significant internal damage. Authorities said Lanza fired dozens and dozens of times in a spree that lasted minutes.

“All the wounds that I know of at this point were caused by the long weapon,” said Carver, the medical examiner.

He said he saw multiple wounds on the bodies of those he examined, and based on his conversations with colleagues, “I believe everybody was hit more than once.”