Gun debate prompts some stores to pull certain guns off shelves

December 18, 2012 4:32:33 PM PST
In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, a heated debate over gun control may have prompted some major retailers to pull certain semi-automatic rifles off their shelves.

You'll see semi-automatic rifles displayed at the Shiloh Indoor Shooting Range, but that's no longer the case at three big retailers.

Walmart, Dick's Sporting Goods and now Academy have pulled certain types of guns from stores and the Internet following last week's deadly school shooting in Connecticut.

"It's the knee jerk reaction from people that we're having to deal with, and the knee jerk reaction is 'Oh my God, we have to do something,'" said Jeff Sanford with the Shiloh Shooting Range in northwest Harris County.

In a statement on its corporate website, Dick's Sporting Goods said:

"During this national time of 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."

Walmart yanked the "Bushmaster" military-style assault rifle from its web store. The weapon is in the same family of guns as the one Adam Lanza reportedly used to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.

And while Academy refused comment, viewers contacted us saying, as of Tuesday afternoon, the chain's AR-15s were no longer displayed at stores.

"It's unfortunate that they're being pulled off the shelves, but at the same time, people are buying them," Sanford said.

For Sanford's customers, who fear a ban on certain guns, the time to buy is now.

"It doesn't have a mind of its own, it's not going to do anything without the user doing it," Sanford said. "We need to stop blaming the tool and start blaming the person behind it."

To offer some perspective, Sanford says that so many people are trying to buy guns that the FBI, which performs background checks, can't answer the phones fast enough and their phone line has been disconnected.

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