On the morning of December 14, 2012, while classes were underway at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, twenty year old Adam Lanza walked into the school and began shooting with assault weapons. Before the shooting at the elementary school, Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at home where he was able to get three weapons – a semiautomatic assault rifle, and two handheld pistols. Upon entering Sandy Hook, he first shot and killed the principal and school psychologist. He then opened fire, killing twenty first graders and three more faculty members, before killing himself.
The Sandy Hook shooting is the second deadliest school shooting in US history, after the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007. It is also the second deadliest elementary school massacre after the 1927 Bath School Bombings in Michigan. This shooting was a chilling reminder to the nation of the Columbine shooting in 1999 and sparked controversy, renewing debate over the nation’s gun control laws. President Obama said that during his second term, gun control would be a central issue; this statement was affirmed when he named Vice President Joe Biden to lead a Gun Violence Task Force in order to address the causes of gun violence. In Congress, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Joe Lieberman called for a bill that banned assault rifles, causing outcry from advocates of gun rights. President Obama has also announced other proposals for gun control, in a speech one month after the Sandy Hook shooting, which included universal background checks on firearms purchases, an assault weapons ban, and limiting magazines to ten cartridges.