Thursday, January 24, 2013

State Police: All 26 Newtown victims shot with assault rifle

Lt. J. Paul Vance, the face of an ongoing Connecticut State Police investigation into worst grade school shooting in U.S. history, on Thursday debunked media and Internet reports that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza killed his victims with handguns and not the Bushmaster XM-15 rifle that is now the focus of a proposed federal assault weapons ban.
All 26 of Lanza's victims were shot with the .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle, said Vance, who bristled at claims to the contrary during an interview with Hearst Connecticut Newspapers.
"It's all these conspiracy theorists that are trying to mucky up the waters," said Vance, the longtime state police spokesman.
Multiple Second Amendment and gun owner websites have attempted to cast doubts on whether the Bushmaster XM-15, a type of AR-15 rifle that is currently legal, was used in the Dec. 14 carnage by Lanza.
Some have cited a Dec. 15 "Today" show video clip from the day after the shooting, in which NBC News Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams said that four handguns were recovered inside Sandy Hook Elementary School and that the Bushmaster rifle was found in the trunk of a car owned by Lanza's slain mother, Nancy Lanza.
"There's no doubt that the rifle was used solely to kill 26 people in that school," Vance said.
Vance said he made it abundantly clear during his media briefings since the tragedy that Lanza sprayed the school with rounds from his mother's Bushmaster XM-15 rifle.
"I personally articulated that probably a dozen times in Newtown," Vance said.
The only time a handgun was used was when Lanza committed suicide, according to Vance.
Sales of AR-15 assault rifles would be banned under the 2013 federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was introduced Thursday on Capitol Hill and is being sponsored by Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy, as well as Newtown's new Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.
Current owners of such weapons would be required to register them with law enforcement.
A message seeking comment from Bushmaster Firearms International was left Thursday at its Madison, N.C., headquarters.

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