The gun Adam Lanza used to kill 26 people on Friday, including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was a Bushmaster .223 rifle, a weapon favored by hunters and the military, published reports say, and apparently not a weapon intended for self defense. The gun, along with two other assault weapons that Lanza used, were registered to Lanza’s mother, the Hartford Courant reports.
That a 20-year-old had access to those guns, and used them with such lethal consequences, is again spurring a debate on gun control, with some saying the Newtown shootings could provide the tipping point to the U.S adopting tougher gun controls.
And while pundits, media outlets and the general public worldwide are starting to weigh-in on the touchy subject of U.S. gun control in the wake of the shootings, lawmakers and gun lobbyists are not.
Officials for Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal today did not return a request for comment on the issue of whether the shootings in Newtown should renew debate on gun control.
On a Facebook posting Blumenthal offered his condolences to the victims’ families. Several of those responding to the posting urged him to push for stricter gun controls as well.
“Senator … what the vast majority of CT and US citizens want to see from you is ACTION. You should introduce strict, comprehensive, national gun control legislation and drive it in the new year,” one commenter said.
A spokesman for Fifth District Congressman and Senator-elect Chris Murphy, whose district includes Newtown, also did not return a request for comment on the mounting calls for gun control.
“With families & first responders again in Newtown today. There just aren't words to convey the grief felt here. Newtown is in our thoughts,” Murphy wrote yesterday on his Facebook page. The posting, and an earlier one from Murphy, saw an overwhelming response from commenters calling for gun control.
“Senator Elect Murphy: Enough is enough!!! We will be looking to you to play an active, leadership role in the Senate to begin to bring some sanity back to Gun Control laws in our Country,” one commenter posted.
The National Rifle Association’s website on Sunday afternoon remained silent on Friday’s rampage. The NRA’s Facebook page, in addition, was removed sometime after the tragedy, the Daily News reports. However, before it was taken down hundreds had already posted to it including one who said: “…Beautiful little children gunned down because of the NRA fighting against every single sensible gun control and gun safety law. The NRA has blood on its hands.”
Besides the now unimaginable reputation as being the site of one of the worst school killings in our country’s history, Newtown is also home to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The organization, located at 11 Mile Hill Road, posted a statement on its website Friday saying it doesn’t want to comment on the shootings that happened less than three miles away.
“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy in our community,” the statement says. “Out of respect for the families, the community and the ongoing police investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment or participate in media requests at this time.” The group’s Facebook page is silent on the tragedy.
Elizabeth Esty, who takes office next month as the representative from the Fifth Congressional District, also posted a note of condolence on her Facebook page, a posting that also gave rise to a comments debate on gun control.
“We will be there to support our grieving neighbors then we will campaign for national gun control,” said one person who responded to Esty posting.
A Friday vigil in New London also brought some calls for gun control. State Rep. Ernest Hewett (D-39th) told the audience, “We have gun laws that need to be passed that aren’t being passed, because we have people who want to go duck hunting with AK-47s.”
According to published reports, besides the Bushmaster rifle, Lanza also carried with him into the school two handguns, a Glock 9mm pistol and a SIG sauer handgun, weapons also favored by police and the military. All were registered to his mother, the Hartford Courant reports.