Connecticut school shooting: Students return to school Tuesday
Debora Seifert, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said both Lanza and his mother fired at shooting ranges, sometimes visiting them together. "We do not have any indication at this time that the shooter engaged in shooting activities in the past six months," Seifert said.
Investigators have found no letters or diaries that could explain the attack. Whatever his motives, normalcy will be slow in returning to Newtown. Classes were canceled districtwide Monday. Dan Capodicci, whose 10-year-old daughter attends the school at St. Rose of Lima church, said it was time for her to get back to classes.
"It's the right thing to do. You have to send your kids back. But at the same time I'm worried," he said. "We need to get back to normal."
The district has made plans to send surviving Sandy Hook students to Chalk Hill, a former middle school in the neighboring town of Monroe. Sandy Hook desks that will fit the small students were being taken there, and tradesmen were donating their services to get the school ready within a matter of days.
With Sandy Hook Elementary still designated a crime scene, state police Lt. Paul Vance said it could be months before police turn the school back over to the district.
Lanza is believed to have used a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, a civilian version of the military's M-16. It is similar to the weapon used in a recent shopping mall shooting in Oregon and other deadly attacks around the U.S.
Versions of the AR-15 were outlawed in this country under the 1994 assault weapons ban, but the law expired in 2004. Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced Tuesday it plans to sell its stake in Freedom Group, maker of the Bushmaster rifle, following the school shootings.
Cerberus said in a statement that it was deeply saddened by Friday's events, and that it will hire a financial adviser to help with the process of selling its Freedom Group interests.
The outlines of a national debate on gun control have begun to take shape. At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said curbing gun violence is a complex problem that will require a "comprehensive solution."
Carney did not offer specific proposals or a timeline. He said President Barack Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and mental health professionals in coming weeks. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, flanked by shooting survivors and relatives of victims of gunfire around the country, pressed Obama and Congress to toughen gun laws and tighten enforcement after the Newtown massacre.
"If this doesn't do it," he asked, "what is going to?" At least one senator, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, said Monday that the attack in Newtown has led him to rethink his opposition to the ban on assault weapons.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat who is an avid hunter and lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, said it's time to move beyond the political rhetoric and begin an honest discussion about reasonable restrictions on guns.
"This is bigger than just about guns," he added. "It's about how we treat people with mental illness, how we intervene, how we get them the care they need, how we protect our schools. It's just so sad."
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