Inside the Reno casino, I sidled up to a group of gray-haired men gathered around an exhibition table where a dealer from Nemesis Arms was touting the features of the Mini Windrunner .308 caliber sniper rifle. (Adam Lanza’s weapon of choice was a .223 caliber Bushmaster assault rifle.) According to Defense Review, a leading online newsletter covering the small arms industry, the gun was a “nasty little piece of manpackable/backpackable ballistic business!” With the sleek, 3ft-long rifle in his hand, the dealer explained:

“The bipod will articulate to the side. You can shoot off of walls, car or truck doors, building tops, cliffs – at any angle, all the way to barricade position.”

In less than a minute, the dealer effortlessly disassembled the gun and packed it away discreetly in a black backpack, explaining:

“The reason that we don’t do this in a molly pack is that it looks military. If it’s military, then people will assume that you’re military. So what we do with this is we keep it as benign as possible so it looks like just any other backpack that anybody would have … so anybody with any garb, any dress, can go anywhere with it.”

Why would a common civilian need a sniper rifle capable of shooting off of building tops and car doors? And why would they require stealthy methods of concealment, so they could pass through American cities without detection? Companies like Nemesis Arms never explained the logic behind such disturbing sales pitches. But clearly, they were falling on fertile soil.

Max Blumenthal