Gun Control and Adam Lanza’s Assault Rifle

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The end of the world was supposed to be on December 21st. December 14th felt more like it. On December 14th, Adam Lanza went on a mass killing spree that left twenty children and six adults dead in Newtown, Connecticut, and left a nation grieving with a crushed heart.

According to reports, Lanza carried out most of the murders with a semi-automatic Bushmaster .223 caliber assault rifle with a 30 round magazines.

The Bushmaster assault rifle is a variant of the M-16. The M-16 was first put into mass use by the U.S. Military in the Vietnam War. It was designed for close range assault against moving targets. The M-16, as well as the Bushmaster, uses a .223 caliber bullet that, instead of cleanly piecing a target, often tumbles on impact creating far more damage to flesh and internal organs than most bullets. The Viet Cong referred to it as the little bullet that made the big hole.

Not only were the bullets fired from Lanza’s rifle likely to tumble through the target, they were believed to be hollow point. Hollow point bullets are designed to explode the flesh, creating immediate shock and maximum damage right at impact.

The Bushmaster, like the M-16, is engineered to shock, maim and murder lots of human beings in a short period of time.

Bushmaster’s corporate parent is a company named Freedom Group, which is owned by a New York hedge Fund, called Cerberus Capital Management. As reported in Huffington Post, Freedom Group boasted in its 2011 annual report that it is the nation’s largest manufacturer of military-style assault weapons, which it calls, “modern sporting rifles.”

According to Freedom Group, sales of military-style assault rifles, like the Bushmaster used by Lanza, are doing exceedingly well, “especially with a younger demographic of users.” According to the Huffington Post, in 2011, the company sold $775 million worth of guns and ammunition.

This country’s quasi-religious reverence for guns and the Second Amendment are under the microscope. Guns and gun control are back on the table after being shunned for political reasons for over a decade. It took the senseless slaughter of innocent children by an armed-to-the-teeth sociopath to get us there.

Generally speaking, laws are the result of seeking to balance competing interests. A law is ultimately a considered and educated guess as to which side of an issue we should dare to err. In this case, do we want to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to own weapons and ammunition that are designed to efficiently kill as many other people as possible? Do we write off the murder of innocent little children as the necessary cost of being free to amass personal arsenals of assault weapons? Or do we dare to see to it that a massacre like what transpired on December 14th never happens again?

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Posted by on December 19, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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11 Responses to Gun Control and Adam Lanza’s Assault Rifle

  1. James Smith Reply

    December 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

    For anyone that has read my article on “Guns Or No Guns” my position on firearms and gun control should be clear. The USA must do some serious re-thinking on the matter of who can own firearms and under what circumstances. Licensing of individuals will not solve all the problems, but will make regulation, tracking, and control somewhat easier. It will also ensure that licensed owners have a standardized level of training and knowledge.

    Having said that, I have to take exception to a few things in this article. When inaccuracies that tend to hyperbole enter the gun control debate, it reduces the credibility with the very people we should be trying to reach.

    For example, hollow-point bullets do not “explode” they mushroom and often fragment. The intent is to increase the shocking power and subsequent damage by expending all of the energy inside the body instead of passing through the body. (and possibly hitting someone else) The effect on the shot person isn’t much less than if an actual exploding round were used. But using an inaccurate term gives people opposed to any type of gun control an excuse to state, “It’s just another anti-gun wacko that doesn’t know what they are talking about.” they then disregard the entire discussion and may convince others to do so on the same basis.

    Next, the entire “assault rifle” term is badly misused. Any semi-automatic weapon is not an assault rifle. Assault rifles are usually selective fire. Capable of firing single-shot, burst fire, usually 3 rounds for each trigger pull, or full-auto fire. Again, the difference if you have been shot by a powerful rifle is likely going to be moot to you. It will be another “they never know what they are talking about” argument for the “no gun control of any kind” person.

    Private ownership of firearms is going to be a fact of life in the USA for a long time to come. I do hope that there will be some real moves made toward restricting who can own firearms and under what conditions. To sway the thinking of people sitting on the fence over the issue, we will have to avoid providing the NRA and other ammunition (pun intended, I am weak that way:) ) in the form of credibility issues.

    There are already many laws about gun control sch as requiring a class 3 license for full-auto weapons. In most cases the problem is not with the intent of the laws but with the poor application of them. That needs to be fixed promptly.

    • bitcodavid Reply

      December 19, 2012 at 8:05 am

      Regardless of any technical inaccuracies, these two graphs spell out the gist of this very important article:

      Bushmaster’s corporate parent is a company named Freedom Group, which is owned by a New York hedge Fund, called Cerberus Capital Management. As reported in Huffington Post, Freedom Group boasted in its 2011 annual report that it is the nation’s largest manufacturer of military-style assault weapons, which it calls, “modern sporting rifles.”

      According to Freedom Group, sales of military-style assault rifles, like the Bushmaster used by Lanza, are doing exceedingly well, “especially with a younger demographic of users.” According to the Huffington Post, in 2011, the company sold $775 million worth of guns and ammunition.

      These people are profiting off murder and the misery of others, and as long as that occurs – and we live in a country that’s politically dominated by corporate powers – there will be Bushmaster machine guns in our midst. And there will be psychotic shooters murdering our children.

    • lincoln82 Reply

      December 19, 2012 at 10:51 am

      A thoughtful response James, and I thank you for it. I didn’t know about the bullets, I, like the author, also thought they “exploded.” Something learned today.

    • Bill Formby Reply

      December 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      “The effect on the shot person isn’t much less than if an actual exploding round were used. But using an inaccurate term gives people opposed to any type of gun control an excuse to state, “It’s just another anti-gun wacko that doesn’t know what they are talking about.” they then disregard the entire discussion and may convince others to do so on the same basis.”

      James, do you really think that people opposed to any type of gun control need any excuse to oppose gun control. The nuts who need guns like babies need pacifiers not only oppose any type of gun control but also argue for pushing for more people to have to have guns. Some guy who was representing the National Gun Owners Association (like we needed another nutty organization) was arguing that we should force teachers and principles to carry concealed weapons while doing their duty at school. Hell, why don’t we just go ahead and require teachers to go through S.E.A.L training before they take a teaching job. Then, of course, we need to do the same for ushers at the movies, students in higher education, and people who eat at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. As long as we be ludicrous why not require every child to be trained with a gun before they start school and issue them a gun.

      This whole damn country is nuts. Maybe its because their mama’s don’t breast feed them anymore. Has anyone else noticed that it is usually not the brothers from the hoods doing this stuff. Not really meaning to be racial here, but really, it seems to be some middle class white dude with emotional problems.

  2. bitcodavid Reply

    December 19, 2012 at 7:53 am

    But we also have to address the mental health issues. And above all, where gun control is most needed, would be in that area. Although I can’t imagine in which universe a sportsman needs a military style machine gun, I think the essential issue is more a matter of who can get access to any lethal force weapon, rather than what type of weapon it is.

    Some people enjoy murdering beautiful and noble creatures like deer and wolves, and sadly – that can’t be stopped. Do you need an AR-15 to do it? I don’t think so, but then I can’t really speak to the subject as I’ve never killed an innocent creature. Point is, we simply don’t have the power to take weapons away from these people. What we can and should be doing however, is limiting the access of sociopaths and psychopaths to any lethal weapons – even steak knives.

    We need to develop methods of finding these people before their internal thermostats go into vapor lock. We need to develop methods of helping them, that do not include chemical lobotomy or mass incarceration. The guns are a symptom. Cure the disease and you stop the symptoms.

  3. Michael John Scott Reply

    December 19, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Excellent article Collin! I agree with you. Something needs to be done to stop the proliferation of assault weapons so at least one small first step can be taken toward preventing further massacres.

  4. lincoln82 Reply

    December 19, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I just read where an NRA functionary said that CT has the 5th toughest gun laws in the US and still the massacre happened. What she didn’t mention of course was that assault weapons are NOT banned in CT. Idiot.

  5. Michael John Scott Reply

    December 19, 2012 at 10:54 am

    David writes:

    “These people are profiting off murder and the misery of others, and as long as that occurs – and we live in a country that’s politically dominated by corporate powers – there will be Bushmaster machine guns in our midst. And there will be psychotic shooters murdering our children.”

    Well said David, and so very true.

  6. AnonymousNot Reply

    December 19, 2012 at 11:07 am

    “In this case, do we want to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to own weapons and ammunition that are designed to efficiently kill as many other people as possible?”

    We have for years, thanks to the almighty gun lobby and terrified politicians. Hopefully Obama will lead us through this wilderness, finally. Good article.

  7. John Calchera Reply

    December 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    For the record, if this gunman had had a high powered hunting rifle with extended clips. He would have actually done more damage than he did with the gun he used. High power rounds would have gone right through whoever he shot and through the walls and into whatever was behind those walls. He could have killed children 2 classrooms away.

    There is always 2 ways to look at any situation. Most people who are focusing on assault rifles are generally misinformed about gun in general. A ban on assault weapons will work as good as it did in the 80s and 90s. Last I checked, we had mass killings during this time too.

    If you look into what congress is going to consider an “assault” weapon, you will things like pistol grip shot guns, 22 rifles made out of materials other than wood and many others guns that are almost identical to their “non-assault” versions.

    We definitely need more gun regulations, but we need SMART regulations that have been created by people who understand how weapons work. In my previous article I came up with the perfect solution. Ban any magazine or cartridge over 10 rounds. This simple solution will effectively reduce the deadliness of all guns that use large cartridges or magazines.

    • Michael Scott Reply

      December 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      John I appreciate what you’re saying but people don’t want to be educated. Secondly, high powered hunting rifles do not have the rapid fire capacity of assault weapons, and can actually be used for hunting. Finally, I’ve not heard of any mass shooting where high powered hunting rifles were used. So the devil is in the details, but at the moment the devil is the assault rifle, as it should be. I agree with need SMART regulations. Let’s hope that happens. Thanks man.

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