[UPDATE BELOW] In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school, one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the world has decided to suspend the sale of certain types of semi-automatic rifles. Dick's Sporting Goods announced today that it has pulled all guns from its store nearest to Newtown, Connecticut (located in Danbury, about 10 miles away). Here's the company's 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.
Dick's, which was founded in Binghamton, New York but relocated headquarters to Pittsburgh in 1994, has over 500 locations in some 44 states. It's unclear how long this suspension of "modern sporting rifles" sales will remain in effect—we called and emailed Dick's press office and will update when we hear back. But the company issued this statement to CNN in regards to the Newtown massacre: "At this time, reports that the suspect [Adam Lanza] visited one of our stores last week have not been confirmed by law enforcement. Based on our records, we can confirm that no firearms were sold to the suspect identified in this case."
The news comes after Wal-Mart pulled the Bushmaster AR-15 from its website, and as the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced it would sell its investment in Freedom Group, which includes Bushmaster, the manufacturer of the rifle used by Lanza in last week's shooting. "It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level,” Cerberus said in a statement.
Update 10:33 a.m.: In an interview with Bloomberg News this morning, the father of Cerberus CEO Stephen Feinberg confirmed that he resides Newtown, CT. Martin Feinberg said the shooting was “devastating.”