Dick's Sporting Goods Suspends Sale of “Modern Sports Rifles”

The move comes after the shooting deaths of 20 students and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

A nationwide sporting goods chain has pulled all of the guns from its store closest to Newtown, Conn., and has suspended sales of "modern sports rifles" across the country.

Dick's has locations in Pasadena, El Segundo, West Covina, Huntington Beach, Santa Clarita, Chino, Tustin, Yorba Linda, Newport Beach, Moorpark, Laguna Hills, Ladera Ranch, Oxnard, Murrieta and other California locations, according to the company's web site.

A Dick's Sporting Goods in Danbury, Conn. is just 13.5 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 students and six staff members were killed in a mass shooting on Dec. 14. Several residents in the Newtown area said they welcome these changes, but fear it's only a temporary measure and that guns will be too easily available in the area again soon.

Dick's Sporting Goods did not indicate when the stores would resume selling the guns. The company released the following statement:

"We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, CT, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to the entire community.

"Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chainwide.  

"We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by this terrible tragedy. "

The shooter, identified as Adam Lanza, 20, of Newtown, 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.

The Bushmaster rifle is no longer available in some Walmart stores, according to a spokesperson. It is not for sale inside Walmart in Danbury, but ammunition and gun accessories are still available.

In addition to the Bushmaster, Lanza was also carrying two handguns—all of which were legally purchased by Lanza's mother, a firearms enthusiast.

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