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?