As I’ve spent the last few months reporting on gun policy, one myth has kept cropping up – from an adamant gun-range manager in Shasta County to countless snarky emails I’ve received – to which some gun-rights advocates insist on clinging despite all evidence to the contrary: That Newtown shooter Adam Lanza used handguns, not a semi-automatic rifle considered by many to be an “assault weapon,” in his horrific rampage.
I noted here in January that the myth began with a video clip from NBC’s Today show which reported that Lanza had taken four handguns into the school but left the rifle in his car. That video is wrong; it was based on unnamed sources and aired as the news was still breaking on Dec. 15, the day after the shooting, before authorities had briefed the media on what weapons were actually used. The correct information was released later that day. But this video clip has been reposted so many times since – with or without the knowledge that it’s dead wrong – that Connecticut State Police felt compelled to re-issue the correct information in January.
Today there’s a new statement from Stephen J. Sedensky III, State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury, who’s been heading the investigation:
(T)the shooter went to Sandy Hook Elementary school where he shot his way into the building and killed 20 children and 6 adults with a Bushmaster .223 caliber model XM15 rifle. The Bushmaster was loaded with a 30-round capacity magazine. Fourteen rounds were in the magazine when the Bushmaster was recovered by police. There was one round in the chamber.
The shooter took his own life with a single shot from a Glock 10 mm handgun. He also had a loaded 9mm Sig Sauer P226 handgun on his person. Recovered from the person of the shooter, in addition to more ammunition for the handguns, were three, 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster, each containing 30 rounds. Located in the area of the shootings were six additional 30-round magazines containing 0, 0, 0, 10, 11, and 13 live rounds respectively. One-hundred-and-fifty-four spent .223 casings were recovered from the scene.
It is currently estimated that the time from when the shooter shot his way into the school until he took his own life was less than five minutes.
The police found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in the passenger compartment of the car the shooter drove to the school. The shotgun was moved by police from the passenger compartment of the car to the trunk for safekeeping.
Lest anyone engage in baseless accusations that Sedensky is peddling partisan propaganda, it looks to me as if every one of the Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission members who appointed him to his job are Republican appointees themselves.
Not that it matters all that much – torn apart by bullets is torn apart by bullets, no matter what kind of gun fired those bullets. But I do believe it’s impossible to have a serious discussion on gun policy unless everyone accepts the facts. These are the facts.
Sedensky also today released search-warrant information which describes items taken from Lanza’s home and car. See the search-warrant documents here: