Sandy Hook case: History of a war weapon

Sandy Hook lawsuit offers history of a war weapon.
Sandy Hook lawsuit offers history of a war weapon.
Two years ago on Dec. 14, 2012, a mentally unstable man shot and killed 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Two others were wounded -- all in a matter of minutes.
    This week, the families of nine victims, along with an adult who was shot but survived, filed a lawsuit in Connecticut against the maker and distributors of the Bushmaster Firearms International LLC's AR-15 rifle, used in the attack. 
    The families seek monetary damage, punitive damages and attorneys'  fees, charging that the gun used in the Sandy Hook attack is a “civilian” weapon with no legitimate civilian purpose: “It is hand guns, and not long guns, that are widely considered to be the optimal weapon for home defense.”  
    The lawsuit also said that a 1989 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms study concluded that “semiautomatic assault rifles were designed and intended for combat and not suited to either sporting or hunting.”
    In building a case, the lawsuit offers this history of the weapon: 
  • “After World War II, the U.S. Army’s  Operations Research Office analyzed over three million casualty reports from World War I and World War II. In its final report, the group observed that modern combat occurred at short range and was highly mobile. More importantly, they determined that the number one predictor of casualties was the total number of shots fired.
  • “These findings led the U.S. Army to develop specifications for a new combat weapon: a lightweight firearm that would hold a large detachable magazine and rapidly expel ammunition with enough velocity to penetrate body armor and steel helmets.
  • “A company called Armalite designed the AR-15 in response. Lightweight, air-cooled, gas-operated and magazine fed, the AR-15’s capacity for rapid fire with limited recoil meant its lethality was not dependent on good aim or ideal combat conditions.
  • “After extensive testing, the military concluded that a five-man squad armed with AR-15s had equal or superior ‘hit-and-kill’ potential in combat situations when compared with an 11-man squad armed with M14 rifles, the AR-15’s predecessor. Troops field-testing the AR-15 reported instantaneous deaths, as well as routine amputations, decapitations and massive body wounds. The military ultimately adopted the AR-15 as its standard issue service rifle, renaming it the M16."
        Today, Colt Defense LLC is the largest supplier of rifles to the military, the lawsuit added. “Bushmaster, meanwhile, holds the distinction of being the largest supplier of combat rifles to civilians.” 
         The lawsuit, in entirety, is posted the Hartford Courant website.