In an attempt to rationalize Obama's use of a heinous crime to justify gun control writ large, the New York Times said Obama had to "look beyond" Sandy Hook because "a new federal assault weapons ban and background checks of all gun buyers...might have done little to prevent the massacre in Newtown, Conn."
In other words, Obama couldn't just propose an assault weapons ban and universal background checks because these things would have been impotent against Adam Lanza.
The NYT explained their position by reminding readers that the gun Lanza used conformed to the strict 'assault weapons' law in Conn. and that background checks were already in place, but Lanza went around them by stealing his gun.
Although the NYT didn't point it out, it should be noted that Lanza purposely avoided the background checks that are already in place because he knew he couldn't pass them.
The bottom line: The NYT has now inadvertently made the same argument the NRA and Gun Owners of America have been making since Sandy Hook--namely, that an assault weapons ban and expanded background checks will do nothing to stop another public shooting. However, both these things will certainly make it harder for law abiding citizens to get the weapons they need to defend their lives and families.