Yet, America sits today as it did before December’s Newtown, Conn., massacre: In desperate need of stronger gun-control laws that make it more difficult for nascent killers to gain access to weapons.
In a perfect world, Thursday’s developments would move us a step closer to that finality. Search warrants released in Connecticut provided further proof that the Newtown shooter, Adam Lanza, was able to kill so many people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in part because of the number of high-capacity magazines he carried.
Among the search warrants’ key points:
• Authorities recovered 154 spent .223-caliber shell casings at the scene, all fired in a five-minute shooting spree.
• Lanza had three 30-round magazines for his .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle.
• Lanza also had two magazines containing a total of 70 shells for a 12-gauge shotgun found in his car. (Authorities said the model of shotgun Lanza had can be fitted with multi-shell magazines.)
• Lanza apparently changed out magazines before entering each room at the school — even if there were rounds remaining in the previous magazine. That allowed him to shoot as many people as possible in the quickest amount of time.
In Washington, President Obama is urging Congress to act in a timely fashion to strengthen the nation’s gun laws. A ban on assault-style weapons isn’t likely to happen, Sen. Harry Reid, D-N.V., has told the Associated Press. What is possible is expanded requirements for federal background checks for gun buyers — though those checks, which apply to the nation’s 55,000 federally licensed gun dealers, do not apply to online sales and gun shows.
It is our hope that the information in the Newtown search warrants — proof of the number of 30-round magazines Lanza had — will spur lawmakers to include bans on magazines that allow shooters to mow down large numbers of people in only a few minutes.
It is here that sport shooters and hunters try to defend their rights to have these high-capacity magazines. It’s here, as well, that their arguments fail.
Protecting human life must take priority. Unless you’re in the military or law enforcement, a high-capacity magazine serves one true purpose in today’s America — to make it easier to kill lots of people. Newtown proved that.