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Newtown group urges stricter gun laws amid new details on Adam Lanza

March 28, 2013|By Tina Susman and Michael Muskal

A group representing parents of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School and others affected by Adam Lanza’s shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn., stepped up calls for tighter federal gun control laws Thursday as documents shed light on Lanza’s obsession with weapons and provided new details of his Dec. 14 massacre.

There were three Samurai swords, with blades 13 inches, 21 inches, and 28 inches long, inside the home that Lanza shared with his mother, Nancy, according to search warrants unveiled by Connecticut State Police.

There were boxes of bullets, a bayonet, a newspaper story about a 2008 mass shooting in Illinois, and photographs that appeared to show a dead person covered in plastic and blood.

DOCUMENTS: Newtown shooting search warrants

There were hundreds of rounds of ammunition, drawers full of gun paraphernalia, cardboard and paper targets, and a holiday card from Nancy Lanza to her son with a check to buy himself another gun.

In addition, investigators who continue to comb the murder scene at the school in Newtown say they recovered from Adam Lanza’s body three fully loaded 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle that he used to kill 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook. Fourteen rounds remained in the magazine that was in the Bushmaster, with one round in the chamber, indicating that Lanza would have kept on shooting if his rampage had not been interrupted by police called to the scene.

The search warrants also noted that NRA certificates for Adam Lanza and for his mother were found in their home, but the NRA in a statement Thursday denied any association with the pair. “There is no record of a member relationship between Newtown killer Adam Lanza, nor between Nancy Lanza, A. Lanza or N. Lanza with the National Rifle Association,” it said in a statement.

The shootings have prompted President Obama to launch new gun control efforts, which have led to a showdown with the NRA and others who allege that proposed restrictions on gun purchases and ownership could infringe on the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution.

PHOTOS: Massacre in Newtown

“Now’s the time to turn that heartbreak into something real,” Obama said Thursday as he called on those who support reforms to speak out and challenged Congress not to get “squishy” and shy away from passing laws requiring background checks on all gun sales and banning high-capacity magazines like the ones Adam Lanza used.

“We need everybody to remember how we felt 100 days ago and make sure what we said at that time wasn’t just a bunch of platitudes,” Obama said. “Tears aren’t enough. Expressions of sympathy aren’t enough. Speeches aren’t enough. We’ve cried enough, known enough heartbreak. What we’re proposing is not radical. It’s not taking away anybody’s gun rights.”

A group formed in the aftermath of the massacre, Sandy Hook Promise, said the revelations of Lanza’s weapons collection and his actions proved that change is needed.

“The information revealed today underscores the need to turn this tragedy into transformation,” Tim Makris, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, said in a statement. “While legislation is not the only answer, it’s time for Congress to pass sensible measures supported by the vast majority of Americans to reduce gun violence. It’s time for our Legislature to move forward with the strongest measures possible. The country is united that something must be done; our representatives should act without delay.”

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said Lanza's collection of high-capacity magazines showed the need for a ban on them. 

"We knew he used 30-round magazines to do it, and that they allowed him to do maximum damage in a very short period of time," Malloy said in a statement. "This is exactly why we need to ban high-capacity magazines and why we need to tighten our assault weapons ban. I don't know what more we need to know before we take decisive action to prevent gun violence."

The Sandy Hook Promise group has steered clear of demanding specific changes in the past and made clear when it was launched in January that it was not yet ready to dive into the political debate on gun control. But the chilling details of the information unveiled Thursday appeared to have pushed it further toward calling for specific changes that some Newtown parents support.

According to the investigators’ reports, Lanza had easy access to the trove of weapons, ammunition, magazines, holsters, gun guides and other material found in the home, in his vehicle and on his body, despite reports from those who knew the family that Nancy Lanza had long worried about her son’s emotional state.

WHO THEY WERE: Sandy Hook shooting victims

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