UPDATE: State Police Confirm Weapons Used in Newtown Shootings

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11995609-mmmainThe Connecticut State Police released a statement on January 18th attempting to clarify the confusion generated by the inconsistent and irresponsible media reporting following the Sandy Hook elementary shooting in Newtown on December 14th.

The released list of weapons sets the record straight on an issue that has driven the blogosphere to increasingly speculative lengths: exactly which weapons were used in the shooting?

The weapons seized from the attacker Adam Lanza are as follows, according to the State Police:

#1. Bushmaster .223 caliber– model XM15-E2S rifle with high capacity 30 round clips

#2. Glock 10 mm handgun

#3. Sig-Sauer P226 9mm handgun

Seized from suspect’s car in parking lot:

#4. Izhmash Canta-12 12 gauge Shotgun    (seized from car in parking lot)

The Bushmaster .223 (not .233) can be assumed to be a semi-automatic rifle, although variants in fully automatic have been made for military and police purchasers. It is a “lightweight, small-caliber semi-automatic rifle, with a light recoil and a variety of optional barrel lengths and targeting/aiming devices.”

The Bushmaster .223 would fall under the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban legislation [Section 2(B)], since it has a detachable magazine (in this case, a 30-round magazine). The term “assault weapons” should be noted, since it appears to be politicized term used customarily to suit the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban legislation. The term is a redundancy, because there is no such thing as a “non-assault weapon.”

Nonetheless, numerous politicians have described so-called “military style” weapons using the term “assault weapon,” and various journalists have either picked up on the terms uncritically or used them to further the political agenda of gun regulation. “Assault weapon” is also difficult to distinguish from “assault rifle,” another vague term that has been used to describe fully automatic weapons or rifles with self-selective fire.

[Read "NBC Admitted: No ‘Assault Rifle’ Used in Newtown Shooting."]

The press release also clarifies that two handguns were used in the shooting, not four handguns, as NBC reported after ‘confirming’ the information with numerous federal and state officials on live television after the shooting. It is unclear whether or not NBC issued a retraction, although it was declared false by some journalists.

In addition, while there were a number of early reports that an “assault rifle” was used in the shooting, CNN ran an update that a shotgun was in the trunk of the car, and not a rifle. Although there apparently is no “Canta-12,” there is a Russian model that translates to “Saiga-12” (as a Russian speaker, I can confirm this).

The Connecticut State Police thus hopefully resolves the confusion that had been created by the media’s haste to politicize a crisis. May the controversy be laid to rest along with the tragic victims of the shooting.

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