NRA board member and rocker Ted Nugent recently claimed that the media has been lying about the mass murder of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, because “no so-called assault weapon was used in the grisly murders.”
Since the Dec. 14 shootings, conspiracy theorists have quoted an incorrect early report made by NBC’s Pete Williams that “only handguns were taken into the school” by gunman Adam Lanza (video below).
Nugent repeated this false conspiracy claim in his WND.com column this week:
No so-called assault weapon was used in the grisly murders of the children and teachers in Newton, Conn. NBC has reported the butcher used four handguns.”
And though we can all agree that anything reported by the networks and so much of the media should be disbelieved out of hand, even if the Bushmaster modern sporting rifle were used in the demonic slaughter of innocents, semi-automatics are not "assault weapons." Period.
According to Media Matters.org, by the evening of December 14, 2012, NBC Nightly News stated that "most of the shots fired inside the school came from an assault-style rifle."
On the December 16 , 2012, broadcast of Today Show, NBC's Williams reported: "The medical examiner in Newtown says the children were each shot several times, all with an assault-style rifle."
Nugent also wrote:
Though it may look like a military weapon, it functions much differently than a military assault weapon. The AR-15 has more in common with a common .22 semi-automatic squirrel rifle than a military assault weapon.
However, Media Matters.org reports that
Before the gun industry attempted to rebrand assault weapons as "modern sporting rifles" in 2009, gun manufacturers, firearms enthusiasts and advocates for an assault weapons ban all used the term "assault weapon" to specifically refer to military-style semi-automatic rifles, like the one used in the Newtown massacre.
His statement is highly misleading as the AR-15 was directly derived from the military standard issue M16 rifle. As one 1985 advertisement for a Colt AR-15 put it, "The AR-15A2 Sporter II is the civilian version of the battle proven and recently improved U.S. military M-16A1." Furthermore, while the .223 caliber ammunition commonly used in AR-15 rifles and the 5.56mm ammunition used by M16 rifle are quite similar, the ammunition used by a .22 caliber hunting rifle is quite different and has a much lower velocity and penetrating ability.