Recent entries on the Sandy Hook Massacre Timeline suggest how March 28, 2013 was an especially important date coordinated to bring together the United Nations-led campaign to address the conventional weapons trade and accelerate gun control-related public relations efforts directed toward the American people.
- March 23
President Barack Obama uses his weekly radio address to call on Congress to pass a ban on military-style assault weapons and restrictions on ammunition sales. “These ideas shouldn’t be controversial – they’re common sense. They’re supported by a majority of the American people. And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote,” the president declares. Obama has campaigned for a national program of stricter gun control measures since the December 14 Newtown massacre last year claiming the public wants strengthened laws to curb mass shootings. Senate majority leader Harry Reid introduced firearms legislation earlier in the week that excluded the assault weapons ban, saying there were insufficient votes to pass such a bill. The National Rifle Association and its congressional Democratic and Republic allies oppose such measures. Paul Harris, “Obama Urges Assault Weapons Vote Despite Senate Decision to Drop Ban,” UK Guardian, March 23, 2013.
- March 26
News media and Connecticut state political representatives anticipate release of crime scene evidence by the state attorney’s office on March 28. Whether or not this new information will bring the General Assembly closer to voting on a package of gun control bills is still not clear. Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane is anticipated to release portions of the Sandy Hook investigation on Thursday morning. Kane and Danbury State’s Attorney say they have briefed lawmakers but will not take questions from the press. “There may or may not, his words not mine, be things within that information that would be helpful to us,” observes Rep. Larry Cafero. Mark Davis, “Sandy Hook Details to be Released,” News8 WTNH.com, March 26, 2013.
Attempts to enact a “small arms treaty” banning a $70 billion annual market for conventional weapons may be realized with a final draft sent to governments of all United Nations member states for ratification. Supporters are confident the Arms Trade Treaty will be approved by consensus at a final negotiation session at UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. The treaty will set a historical precedent by establishing international standards for conventional weapons sales that link such transactions “to respect for human rights, the prevention of war crimes and the protection of civilians.” Advocates say the treaty is the strongest attempt to halt the illegal exchange of weapons prompting lethal conflicts around the world. If passage is not secured proponents will likely seek approval by achieving support of two-thirds of the UN General Assembly at a vote the week of April 1. In the summer of 2012 the Obama administration objected to the treaty and this brought about postponement of negotiations until now. Neil MacFarquhar and Rick Gladstone, “UN Close to Curing Arms Trade with Treaty,” New York Times, March 28, 2013.
The National Day to Demand Action on Gun Control to take place on March 28 will be marked by President Barack Obama holding an event in the White House East Room with mothers, victims of violence and law enforcement officials who support gun control. Over 140 events are scheduled in 29 states and are intended to target lawmakers on spring break.Vice President Joe Biden says on March 27 how an anticipated Senate April vote on background checks and more draconian penalties for gun trafficking are only the start of the White House’s campaign. Limits on “military-style-assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines will not be a part of the Senate bill. “That doesn’t mean this is the end of the process. This is the beginning of the process,” Biden remarks during a conference call organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns with thousands of gun control advocates listening in. “The American people are way ahead of their political leaders,” Biden contends. “And we, the president and I and the mayors, intend to stay current with the American people.” Nedra Pickler, “Joe Biden: Gun Control Votes ‘Only the Beginning,'” Huffington Post, March 27, 2013.
Superior Court Judge John Blawie approves Danbury State Attorney Stephen Sedensky’s request to withhold for an additional 90 days details from search warrant applications related to the investigation of the December 14 massacre. With several motions Blawie removes the name of a “citizen witness” referenced in various parts of the search warrant applications for Nancy Lanza’s house and car. A press report cites a lack of clarity on whether Sedensky is referring to more than one witness. The State Attorney also asked for omission of serial numbers of several items retrieved by investigators from Lanza’s 36 Yogananda Street home in Newtown, in addition to phone numbers and credit card numbers related to the case. John Pirro and Libor Jany, “Judge Approves Redaction of Details in Lanza Search Warrants,” Newtimes.com, March 27. 2013.
- March 28
In a speech at the White House President Barack Obama tells parents of gun victims that the US needs to be ashamed if the Newtown massacre had been forgotten. The speech is part of National Day to Demand Action, organized by the New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign. Gun control activists complain that Obama failed to take advantage of the Newtown victims’ deaths as an opportunity to speed such legislation through Congress. Obama dismisses the criticism. “Less than 100 days ago that happened. And the entire country was shocked, and the entire country pledged we would do something and this time would be different. Shame on us if we have forgotten. I have not forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we have forgotten,” the President says. Obama wants the Senate to vote on gun control measures upon its return from its Easter break on April 8. Ewen MacAskill, “Gun Control: Obama Invokes Memory of Newtown in Emotional Plea,” UK Guardian, March 29, 2013.
Search warrants held under wraps for 114 days reveal that authorities found a large cache of guns, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, Samurai swords and knives in Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza’s home. The extensive list of weapons and related artifacts were recovered in a search of the residence on December 14. Still, areas of the warrants were blacked out, including the name of a witness who told police that Sandy Hook Elementary was Adam’s “life.” The following is a list of the astounding array of weapons and ephemera law enforcement authorities claim they recovered from the Lanza residence, including:
- A copy of Adam Lanza’s Sandy Hook report card
- Two rifles, including the .22 rifle allegedly used to kill Nancy Lanza
- One BB gun
- Several thousand dollars worth of computer equipment and video gaming consoles
- A receipt to a gun range in Weatherford, Oklahoma
- One gun safe in Adam Lanza’s bedroom
- Ammunition inventory that fills nearly two pages, including full boxes of shotgun shells with buckshot, hundreds of rounds .22 rifle ammo, and numerous boxes of handgun ammunition
- One instruction manual for the Bushmaster used in the shooting
- 12 knives
- Three Samurai swords
- One bayonet
- Eye protection, ear muffs for a gun range (unspecified number)
- One pair Simmons binoculars
- Paper targets (unspecified number)
- Adam Lanza’s National Rifle Association membership certificate
- Unidentified medical records
- Printed email conversations (unspecified number)
- Books about living with Asperger syndrome (unspecified number)
- Three photographs of a dead person covered in plastic and blood
- One bank check to Adam Lanza from his mother for “the purchase of a C183 (firearm)” [A C183 is in fact a digital camera.-JT]
- One military-style uniform in Adam Lanza’s bedroom
Families of the victims briefed March 27th about details of the search warrants expressed their hope for more stringent gun control measures “It was obvious his intention was to do a lot of damage and he was certainly capable of doing that…considering the amount of ammunition he had,” says Mark Barden, father of slain first-grader Daniel Barden. “As a parent, I would think that [Nancy Lanza] probably could have made different choices with how she came to spend her time with her son. Fishing comes to mind,” Bardan remarks. Barden says he hopes the release reminds the public of the grotesque and horrific nature of the tragedy. “When people forget about it they do nothing,” Barden observes. Commenting on the snapshot they’ve gotten into Lanza’s life, Barden remembered his own son’s kindness and said Daniel used to sit with the lonely kids in class. “I think if there were a Daniel Barden in Adam Lanza’s class this may not have happened,” he says. Nicole Hockley, the mother of slain first-grader Dylan Hockley, was among family members who were briefed. “I haven’t spent a great deal of time pouring through them,” she notes. “Everything I learn about the investigation is painful because it reminds me of the pain of that day and that Dylan and the others aren’t ever going to come back. I’m much more focused on the need for change,” says Hockley. “The search warrants contents aren’t as important.” Dave Altimari, “Lanza Had Arsenal of Guns, Ammunition, Swords, Knives,” Hartford Courant, March 28, 2013. See Reuters original story, Mary Ellen Clark, “Connecticut Gunman Had Large Weapons Cache,” New Hampshire Union Leader, published at 10:33AM, March 28, 2013.
The National Rifle Association contests any association with Adam and Nancy Lanza. Itemized findings from search warrants posted online from of Lanza home references an “Adam Lanza National Rifle Association Certificate” discovered in a blue and white duffel bag that also contained a “‘Blazer’ .22 cal long rifle (50 rounds),” as well as eye and ear protection, cartridges and “numerous paper targets.” “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,” the NRA responded “Reporting to the contrary is reckless, false and defamatory.” A review by Politico of the NRA’s website indicates the organization offers many “education and training programs,” in addition to “online templates for certificates. Organizations around the country also offer what they bill as NRA certificates upon completion of certain classes,” the website reports. “A spokeswoman for the NRA confirmed to POLITICO that it is possible to possess a certificate from the NRA without being a full-fledged member of the organization.” Katie Glueck, “AdamLanza, Mom Had NRA Certificates,” Politico.com, March 28, 2013.
Iran, Syria and North Korea prevent adoption of the first international small arms treaty to regulate the $70 billion global market, arguing that it the agreement is flawed and fails to ban weapons sales to rebel groups. British UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant immediately sought to bypass the move by sending the draft treaty to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to put it to a hasty vote in the General Assembly. UN diplomats say the 193-nation General Assembly can put the draft treaty to a vote as early as Tuesday. “A good, strong treaty has been blocked,” Britain’s chief delegate Joanne Adamson observes. “Most people in the world want regulation and those are the voices that need to be heard. This is success deferred,” she says. US delegation head Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman tells reporters, “We look forward to this treaty being adopted very soon by the United Nations General Assembly,” believing there will be a “substantial majority” in favor. Louis Charbonneau, “Iran, North Korea, Syria Block UN Arms Trade Treaty,” Reuters, March 29, 2013.