Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., using a semiautomatic, military-style assault rifle made by Bushmaster. William Spengler Jr. used the same type of Bushmaster rifle to kill two firefighters last week in Webster, N.Y. The Washington snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, also used a Bushmaster in a spree that killed 10 people in 2002.
“There is an allure to this weapon (the Bushmaster rifles) that makes it unusually attractive, The way it looks, the way it handles — it screams assault weapon. — Scott Knight, former chairman of the International Chiefs of Police Firearms Committee”
Bushmasters are by no means the only assault weapons of choice among mass killers (the Aurora shooter used a Smith & Wesson), but the brand’s repeated presence in murderous incidents reflects Bushmaster’s enormous popularity in the gun world, the result of a successful marketing campaign aimed at putting military firepower and machismo in the hands of civilians. Gun owners once talked about the need for personal protection and sport hunting, but out-of-control ad campaigns like Bushmaster’s have replaced revolvers and shotguns with highly lethal paramilitary fantasies.
Read the entire editorial in The New York Times.