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Jan. 21, 2013 Revised April 8, 2013
A month after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama called for sweeping legislation to stem “the epidemic of violence” confronting the United States. The next day, the National Rifle Association called the President’s proposal to rein in gun violence “the fight of the century.”
In 2012, the Newtown, Connecticut massacre capped the worst year in U.S. history for mass murderers using high-capacity ammunition clips in assault weapons. Fifty innocent people were gunned down in public places. In April, seven people at Oikos University in Oakland, California were shot to death; in July, 12 people, including a 6-year-old girl, were murdered at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado where another 58 people sustained gunshot wounds; in August, five men and one woman were shot to death at a Sikh Temple outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Three others, including a police officer, suffered gunshot wounds.
All the children murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, were first graders. Seventeen of them were 6 years old and three had recently turned 7. If police and other first responders had not arrived as swiftly as they had, dozens if not scores more of children would have been shot to death. The shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, had several hundred unspent bullets in additional ammunition clips. Instead of committing the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history – second only to the 32 people shot to death at Virginia Tech in 2007 – he would have committed the worst. The Hartford Courant reported that Lanza had several news articles in his bedroom about Andres Behring Breivik murdering 77 people, most of whom were teenagers, in Norway in 2011. It is likely his intent was to top that body count.