Black Rifles & Tactical Guns

Adam Lanza evidence list includes probable weapon in mother’s murder

Mike Piccione Editor, Guns & Gear
Font Size:

The list of items seized from the home of Nancy Lanza and her son Adam, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, includes the likely murder weapon of Nancy Lanza, along with two other firearms. But this weapon would not be included in the proposed federal assault weapons ban, nor is it clear the ban would have any effect on any of the weapons Lanza used in the school shootings.

According to the list, one firearm was found inside the vehicle used to drive to Sandy Hook Elementary and the other two firearms were found inside the family home.

The weapon found inside Nancy Lanza’s  2010 Honda Civic,  which was parked in front of Sandy Hook Elementary School, is listed in the search warrant as “Exhibit #505 – One (1) Saiga 12 Shotgun, serial #H084002282, with two magazines containing 70 rounds of Winchester 12 gauge shotgun rounds.”

Inside the home two rifles were discovered, “One Enfield Albian bolt action rifle, .323 caliber, model 44MKI, SN HC 22273” and “One Savage Mark II .22 cal rifle, SN 1605038, with magazine.”

The Saiga 12 is a magazine-fed semi-automatic shotgun based on the design of the AK-47. It is rugged, reliable and capable of devastating close range firepower. It is substantially more powerful than the AR-15-style Bushmaster rifle Lanza chose to bring into the school. (Lanza also brought two handguns during his school rampage.)

A Saiga 12, depending on the firearm’s configuration, can be classified as an “assault weapon” under Connecticut law. Assault weapons carry additional restrictions on ownership. Adam Lanaza could have legally purchased this firearm in the non-assault weapon configuration because Connecticut law allows long guns to be purchased by anyone capable and at least 18 years old. However, the state requires handgun buyers to be at least 21. Adam Lanza was 20 years old at the time of the shooting.

This Saiga 12 would be banned under most federally proposed firearm legislation — such as the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, which has been held up by Nevada’s Democratic Sen. Harry Reid but is expected to be reintroduced.

An “Enfield Albian .323 caliber” is probably a typographical error on the police report.

The rifle is likely a British Enfield, a magazine fed bolt action, chambered in .303 British. The .323 caliber implies an 8mm projectile. Enfields were not typically made in 8mm and the ammo discovered in the home was .303 British.

This is a WWII era rifle and long obsolete for military purposes because of its slow rate of fire. The .303 British is a moderately powerful cartridge comparable to those used for deer hunting in the United States.  It is similar in power to the common .308 Winchester and slightly more powerful than a 30-30. This type of rifle is usually sought after by military enthusiasts and used for recreational shooting or collecting.

This rifle would not be banned under any recently proposed legislation.

A Savage Mark II .22 caliber rifle is a magazine fed bolt action rifle. This would be considered a “beginners rifle” or a rifle used for small game hunting. The .22 rimfire cartridge is at the lowest end of the power spectrum for firearms. The cost of this rifle is approximately $200. This gun would not be banned under any recently proposed legislation, but restrictions on magazine size would set a limit of 10 rounds.

The Savage Mark II is the rifle Adam Lanza used to kill his mother, although this is not overtly stated in the police report.

According to “Page 2 Affidavit and Application” paragraph 6, the search warrant states, “The white female sustained an apparent gunshot wound to her forehead.  Investigators located a rifle on the floor near the bed.”

The Savage Mark II was found with “3 live rounds and 1 spent cartridge” according to the search warrant. For the rifle to be found with a spent cartridge, the case would have to be in the chamber, indicating it was fired and the bolt was not cycled to remove the case.

The statement issued today by the Danbury State’s Attorney  confirms that Adam Lanaza “shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, age 52, in her bed with a .22 caliber rifle.”

The Bushmaster XM-15 that Lanza used at Sandy Hook Elementary School is an AR-15-style rifle. This is a magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle firing a .223 Remington cartridge.  Contrary to media reports, this is not a powerful rifle, especially when compared to hunting rifles. It is effective because it is easily controlled and it has a rapid rate of fire. This is the rifle most commonly targeted for restrictive legislation.

Connecticut law regarding AR-15 ownership is confusing because the state has a special classification outside of handguns, rifles and shotguns for “assault rifles.”  AR-15 ownership is allowed in Connecticut if the firearm is configured to meet Connecticut’s standards.

The AR-15 rifle and the 30-round magazines Lanza carried would be outlawed by the Assault Weapons Act of 2013.

The Danbury State’s Attorney  statement indicates “The shooter took his own life with a single shot from a Glock 10mm handgun. He also had a loaded 9mm Sig Sauer P226 handgun on his person.” Because of the Nutmeg State’s age requirement for handgun purchases, it is presumed that the handguns were purchased by Nancy Lanza, though this has not been officially announced.

A Glock 10mm is a magazine-fed semi-automatic handgun capable of taking high-capacity magazines of 15 rounds or more. The 10mm was designed for FBI use but was subsequently dropped for a .40 Smith & Wesson, a shorter and less powerful version of the 10mm round. The 10mm is approximately 30 percent more powerful than a 9mm as measured by energy produced. The website describes the Glock model 20, which is designed for the 10mm cartridge, as having “massive firepower.”

The Glock handgun used by Lanza to take his own life would remain legal under any proposed firearms ban. However, the magazine it uses would be restricted to 10 rounds.

The Sig Sauer P226 is a magazine-fed semi-automatic firearm. Like the Glock, Sig Sauers are often carried by law enforcement officers.  This gun was created to compete for the US military contract to replace the Model 1911 that ultimately went to Beretta.

This gun would not be restricted by the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. But like the Glock, it would be restricted to a magazine capable of holding 10 rounds.