The debate over gun control in our country has spawned many rumors in relation to the weapons used at Sandy Hook Elementary. Many blogs and other forums are reporting that the weapon removed from the shooter's vehicle was the AR-15 and this was not used in the shooting. On Friday, January 18th, the Connecticut State Police issued a press release (see text below) about this issue and confirmed the Bushmaster was found inside the school.
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I asked Vance about the magazine capacity of the handguns that were found inside the school. He said he did not have that information, but confirmed that the shooter had numerous magazines with him inside the school.
It was very clear in speaking with him that they are frustrated with the rumors about this case and the manipulation of the tragedy for political purposes by both sides of the gun control debate. There was obvious pain in his voice reflecting of the exposure to the carnage of the crime scene experienced by all who responded to the scene of this crime and those who continue to investigate the details.
Many of the rumors began after NBC aired a video showing a weapon being removed from the shooter's vehicle after the shooting. It was mistakenly identified as the AR-15. When you watch the video closely, the weapon is very hard to distinguish. There is a brief glimpse of a pistol grip which may have led to the speculation of it being the Bushmaster.
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Bushmaster XM15-E2SHowever, if you continue to look closely at the barrel, you will see it does not look like an AR-15 style rifle. It is a longer barrel much like a shotgun or hunting rifle. Vance confirmed with me it was a tactical shotgun. Their press release identifies it as a "Canta-12", but this is also not correct. It is actually a Saiga-12, manufactured by the Russian company Izhmash. "Canta" comes from the Russian spelling "САЙГА".
Sandy Hook was a painful tragedy by any measure. For the left to use this as a tool to prosecute a political agenda long held by the Obama Administration is wrong. For the right to spread rumors that cause pain for those involved directly is also wrong.
For better or worse, we will now be engaged in a debate about what to change in relation to preventing firearm violence. Whether the shooter used an AR-15 or handguns or a baseball bat is irrelevant. The issue is the killer, not the weapon. Let's try to move forward with facts and compassion for the victims of these horrible crimes. Let's find the real reason why people suddenly turn violent and look for ways to kill themselves and others. And let's treat criminals as criminals and not take away rights of Americans who have not committed any crimes.
Following is the text of the State Police press release:
** UPDATE **
STATE POLICE IDENTIFY WEAPONS USED IN SANDY HOOK INVESTIGATION;
In previous press conferences, the Connecticut State Police clearly identified all of the weapons seized from the crime scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
To eliminate any confusion or misinformation, we will again describe and identify the weapons seized at the school crime scene.
Seized inside the school:
#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)